This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
National Women’s Health Week kicked off on Mother’s Day. This week presents a great opportunity to bring awareness to health issues facing women, and to encourage women of all ages to seek healthcare for routine screenings and chronic issues, adopt healthy behaviors, and make choices for themselves and their families that promote good health. Carson City Health and Human Services is pleased to join with the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health to spread the word about steps women can take to help them live longer healthier lives.
- Visit a doctor or nurse for a well-woman visit (check-up) and preventive screenings.
Regular screenings can help you stay healthy by detecting health problems early, and the Affordable Care Act requires insurance providers to cover the cost of a yearly well-woman exam. It is recommended for women to get a PAP smear every 3 to 5 years, and to receive mammograms as recommended by your physician based on age and risk factors. Additionally, women should consider family planning during visits with their healthcare provider. Whether you are planning to have children or not, having the tools to help you meet your reproductive goals is an important aspect of women’s health.
- Get active.
Make a goal for yourself to be active for at least 30 minutes each day. Doing so can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, help maintain a healthy weight, and help improve mood. Add a walk around the neighborhood, consider biking to work, and make small changes throughout the day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator to add a little bit of extra physical activity to you daily routine.
- Eat healthy.
Food is the fuel for our bodies. A healthy diet and weight can help prevent many chronic diseases, like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Choose plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
Mental and physical health are connected. Protect your mental health by taking time for yourself. Reduce stress by spending time with friends or taking part in an activity you enjoy. Ask for help when you need it. Often, women feel like they should be able to juggle too many things, or are hesitant to reach out for help when they feel stressed out or depressed. If you feel like you need support for a mental health issue, talk to your healthcare provider or call 1-800-662-4357 for confidential treatment and referral information for substance abuse and mental health.
Make a commitment this week to be healthy for yourself and the ones you love. Carson City Health and Human Services and Douglas County Community Health clinic locations offer affordable women’s health services and accept most forms of insurance. To learn more about Women’s Health Week and important health issues facing women, visit www.womenshealth.gov. For more information about other Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us at www.facebook.com/cchhs.