In our society, women often care for everyone else – parents, spouses, children – first and neglect themselves. Looking after yourself isn’t selfish – it’s the best way to keep on doing what you do for those around you.
In honor of International Women’s Day today, check out our list of tips that will help you be your healthiest:
- Understand recommended cancer screenings for your age. Breast, skin, lung and gynecologic cancers are some of most common types affecting women, and regular screening can help catch the disease when it’s most treatable. Check out the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for early cancer screening.
- Get the HPV vaccine. If you’re 26 or younger, ask your doctor about getting an HPV vaccine, which protects against the types of human papilloma virus that most typically cause cervical cancer.
- Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke. Smoking is a major risk factor for cancer and heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women in America.
- Listen to your heart. Women’s hearts are different from men’s in certain ways, which can affect the way women develop heart disease and experience heart attacks. Check out the top 10 things to know about women’s heart health from Dr. Gretchen Wells, director of the UK Gill Heart Institute Women’s Heart Health Program.
- Protect your skin by using sunscreen and avoiding indoor tanning. Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds can cause melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.
- Stay active. Regular exercise, along with a healthy diet, can lower your risk for several types of cancer and reduce your risk for heart disease. Being overweight can increase your risk of a heart attack and other heart complications.
- Think about your mental health, too. Some mental illnesses are more common in women or affect women in different ways than men. Conditions such as anxiety, eating disorders and postpartum depression can significantly impact your life. The National Institute of Mental Health has more information specifically for women, but simple things like staying in touch with family and friends, exercising, and getting good sleep can boost your mental health. If you’re unable to shake your symptoms or they keep coming back, talk with your doctor.
- Be a role model for health. Make sure you’re setting good examples for the girls and young women in your life. Practice healthy eating habits at home and encourage exercise. Encourage the teenage girls in your life to get the HPV vaccination. And for teenage girls especially, emotional support is important. Be available to talk with young women in your life who may be experiencing increased anxiety or depression as they undergo a time of physical and personal growth.
- Learn more about the Women’s Heart Health Program at the UK Gill Heart Institute.
- Find out more about cancer screening opportunities at the Markey Cancer Center.
- Visit the UK Psychiatry website for information about the full range of clinical services we offer.
- If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, learn more about UK Women’s Health Obstetrics and Gynecology and the care we provide during every stage of pregnancy.
- Check out UK HealthCare’s Center for the Advancement of Women’s Health, which provides comprehensive medical services for women of all ages.