May 11, 2007

Think of Your Health on Mother’s Day

By Douglas W. Laube, MD, MEd,
President, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

On Mother’s Day, we celebrate the special women in our lives —mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends— and all that they do for us. But it is also a time when women should focus on their health, for their benefit and for those they love.

Mother’s Day kicks off National Women’s Health Week (NWHW), an initiative sponsored by the federal Office on Women’s Health that encourages women to take simple steps to improve their health and longevity.

In recent years, new research has advanced the study of women’s health tremendously, and women are living longer, healthier lives because of it. NWHW celebrates these positive steps and educates women about what the research is teaching us.

The NWHW website (www.womenshealth.gov/whw) provides important information on conditions affecting women, such as cancer, lupus, HIV and other STDs, cardiovascular health, menopause, and sleep disorders.

Participating organizations from across the country will hold health events and expos where women can get free health screenings and learn more about achieving and maintaining overall good health.

National Women’s Check-Up Day on May 14 highlights the importance of regularly scheduled doctor’s visits. Most women know that staying current with routine and preventive health screenings is one of the best ways that they can protect their bodies now and in the future.

Routine screenings, such as Pap tests, clinical breast exams and mammograms, diabetes and colon cancer screenings, and blood pressure tests, help doctors find problems early or prevent them before they occur. Regular face-to-face visits also strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and give women the opportunity to ask questions and address health concerns.

Have you been to the doctor lately? Check your records to be sure. If you haven’t been to the doctor in the past year, try to schedule an appointment soon. And remind your friends and relatives to make an appointment. Taking an active interest in safeguarding your health and the health of the other special women in your life is the first step in ensuring that you’ll be able to celebrate Mother’s Day for years to come.

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