Health Team

Annual checkups give women leg up on potential health problems

Posted August 30

Few people look forward to doctor visits, so it's something many people put off until later.

Doctors, though, say it's important to not delay annual checkups—especially for women.

Routine exams don't have to take long and can help keep busy women healthy.

Jodi Netley's ready for her annual checkup. At her appointment, the doctor will check her blood pressure, do a breast and pelvic exam or a pap smear, if she's due for one. But not every woman makes the visit on a timely basis.

"You have work responsibilities, and wife responsibilities and children responsibilities, and we'll put ourselves on the back burner," said Dr. Danielle Hay, an OB/GYN.

Hay says she also goes over more than just a patient's vital signs.

"I'm going with talk to you about recommendations for calcium intake and vitamin D intake," Hay said. "I'm going to talk with you about exercise and bone health and cardiac health, and, closer to menopause, we'll talk about that."

The main goal is helping a woman's wellness for the future.

"There are a lot of different preventative things we can talk about in an annual exam, and, so if you don't go or forget to go or if you don't think your health is important enough to go, a lot of things can be missed," Hay said.

Netley makes sure she doesn't skip her doctor's annual advice.

"I try to mark it on my calendar, and now, you know, with technology and smart phones I put a reminder on my phone to say,'Your yearly is due,'" Netley said.

This year, Jodi got the prognosis she wanted to hear: a clean checkup.

It's also important for men to see their doctor on a regular basis—even if they feel healthy.

Annual checkups are especially important for men between the ages of 40 to 64.

That's a time of life when men are at higher risk of problems like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

It's also important to begin recommended screening for colon and prostate cancers.


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