Beebe Obstetricians and Gynecologists Remind All Women to Take Action
National Women’s Health Week is May 9 - 15, 2004
Beebe Medical Center obstetricians and gynecologists join a national effort during National Women's Health Week, May 9 - 15, 2004, to raise awareness about steps women can take to improve their health, including regular health screenings and positive lifestyle habits.
“Women can feel empowered knowing that they are the most important members of their healthcare team,” explains Dr. Steven Berlin, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beebe Medical Center. “Women’s lifestyle choices, such as eating healthy, whole foods and exercising regularly, are among the ways they can promote good health.”
Many women may not realize that heart disease is the number one killer among women. Ethnic background does play a role, however, in health risk factors for women: cancer is the leading cause of death for Asian/Pacific Islander women; white women have the highest mortality rate for lung cancer; and African American women have the highest mortality rate from heart disease. Stroke is the third leading cause of death for American women, but it occurs at a higher rate among African American and Hispanic women, according to the National Women’s Health Information Center, the organizer of National Women’s Health Week, www.4women.gov.
“Preventive care is the best way to promote good health among women,” explains Dr. Susan Kelly, an obstetrician and gynecologist on staff at Beebe Medical Center. “In addition to following age-appropriate screening guidelines, we should feel comfortable voicing our personal health questions to our physicians to discuss anything that concerns us.”
Highlights from the screening guideline recommendations of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) experts include:
Ages 19 to 39
An initial health screening at 19, featuring a complete health history, including your health status; dietary/nutrition assessment; level of physical activity; use of complementary or alternative medicines; tobacco, alcohol or drug use; sexual practices; abuse or neglect; and urinary or fecal incontinence. This screening should then be updated annually.
An annual physical exam, including height, weight, blood pressure, mouth/dental; check of the neck for swelling/thyroid problems; and examination of breasts, abdomen, pelvis, and skin.
Yearly evaluation and counseling on issues concerning sexual activity; fitness and nutrition (including folic acid and calcium intake); interpersonal and family relationships; domestic violence; work satisfaction and lifestyle stress; cardiovascular risk factors (including family history, cholesterol profiles, obesity, diabetes); personal hygiene; high-risk behaviors, including occupational and recreational hazards; breast self-exams; skin exposure to ultraviolet rays; suicidal thoughts; depressive symptoms; and drug or alcohol use.
Lab testing should include Pap test (annually, beginning no later than age 21; after age 30, every two to three years after three consecutive negative tests and no signs of disease); and a tetanus booster every 10 years.
High-risk groups (or those with symptoms) may also need: hemoglobin (red blood cell) assessment; bacteriuria testing; mammograms; a fasting blood sugar test; sexually transmitted disease testing; HIV testing; genetic testing/counseling; rubella assessment; tuberculosis skin testing; lipid profiles (for cholesterol); thyroid stimulating hormone testing; hepatitis C testing; colorectal screening; and bone density screening.
High-risk groups may also need the following vaccines: Hepatitis A and B, pneumonia, varicella and measles, mumps, and rubella.
Ages 40 to 64
All of the above, plus:
Mammography every one to two years beginning at age 40; yearly at age 50.
Lipid (cholesterol) assessment every five years beginning at age 45.
Yearly fecal occult blood testing for colorectal cancer or flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years, or yearly fecal occult blood testing plus sigmoidoscopy every five years, or double contrast barium enema every five years or colonoscopy every 10 years beginning at age 50.
Fasting glucose testing every three years beginning at age 45.
Thyroid stimulating hormone screening every five years beginning at age 50.
Counseling and evaluation on hormone therapy.
Influenza vaccine annually beginning at age 50.
Ages 65 and over
All of the above from both groups, plus:
Yearly urine analysis, mammogram, bone density screening.
Evaluation and counseling on visual acuity, hearing, depression.
Always consult your physician for more information.