Women’s Health Month

Group of healthy women

Prioritizing Personal Health

Women often push aside an active lifestyle and healthy diet to manage and keep up with rigorous work and family demands, putting their personal health at the bottom of their daily “to do” list without a second thought. However, neglecting personal health causes dire consequences. When women fail to prioritize their own health, hereditary illnesses may afflict them earlier and with more severity. Additionally, embracing unhealthy choices can also result in illnesses and diseases affecting physical health and mental wellbeing, consequences that can be avoided by making  -- and sticking to -- daily lifestyle behaviors and choices beneficial to overall health.

With a growing focus on personal health, it’s extremely important for all women and girls, especially those with underlying health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, plus women 65 years and older, to prioritize personal health.

Yet according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC,)  2 of every 3 caregivers in the U.S. are women who provide daily or regular support to children, adults, or people facing chronic illnesses or disabilities. Women with caregiving roles have greater risk for having poor physical and mental health.

May is Women’s Health Month, with National Women’s Check-Up Day designated May 8 and National Women’s Health Week designated May 14 through May 20, offering women perfect opportunity to assess and evaluate their personal health, plus determine appropriate measures necessary to optimize daily health.

Your local Capital Women’s Care team of women’s health experts shares pertinent information on what you can do to optimize your own health. We offer you valuable information concerning lifestyle choices, diet, exercise and getting annual well-woman checkups and physicals to incorporate within your own personal health care plan to help you achieve and enjoy a long quality life.

Getting Started

Raising your awareness of how you can improve your own personal health is the first step toward achieving a healthy life.

Women’s Health Month offers perfect opportunity for you to review your personal health plan and to catch up and become current on all preventive care.

Some goals to strive for include:

  • calling your general practitioner and scheduling a full-body medical well checkup. Annual well checks should be part of your regular personal health plan to detect problems, offer early medical intervention to keep your health from further deterioration (like having high blood pressure or prediabetes) and get you up to date on appropriate vaccines and immunizations. Write down any questions or issues you may have and take them with you to your appointment.

  • knowing your numbers and what they mean. It’s important to know and understand the significance of numbers relating to your blood pressure, good and bad cholesterol levels, weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) and how they correlate with the overall quality of your health. Ask your doctor for specifics regarding what you can do to change numbers associated with higher health risks like cancers, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or even early death.

  • knowing your personal health risks and family history. Women are at greater risk than men for breast cancer, heart disease, osteoarthritis, depression and stroke. Also, knowing your family history is important, as some conditions are more likely to be passed through genetics. Talk to your doctor about your history to find out what you can do to lower your own personal health risk.

  • getting regular oral, skin and eyecare exams. Through regular examinations of your teeth, gums, eyes and skin, you can be alerted to common potential indicators of heart disease, oral and skin cancers, glaucoma, cataracts plus type 2 diabetes. Getting all advised checkups helps monitor your overall health and pinpoints health changes requiring further investigation or testing by your practitioner.

  • following treatment plans (including taking of medications and instituting any lifestyle changes) exactly as prescribed, if you’re diagnosed with a medical issue or disease, with regular checkups as recommended by your practitioner to monitor your condition.

  • scheduling your annual well-woman check up with your Capital Women’s Care practitioner. Have appropriate tests like Pap smears and relay any concerns or questions regarding reproductive health issues you may be experiencing for further investigation if required or recommended by your practitioner.

Taking Steps toward Better Health

Improving and optimizing your personal physical and mental health is something you should prioritize and strive to do every day.

Your daily decisions greatly influence your overall health. These decisions build upon each other and directly affect the quality and longevity of your life.

There are many things you can do to improve your physical and mental health, including:

Prioritizing Healthy Choices

The best way to begin is to identify and add healthy choices and behaviors gradually into your daily life. By changing one or two habits at a time, you have better chance of becoming successful and changing identified unhealthy habits or behaviors.

Start by creating a list to identify healthy decisions you wish to implement and prioritizing their importance. For example, if healthy eating is your top priority, identify goals to help you be successful, like packing a lunch every day, avoiding temptation of junk food purchases while grocery shopping and having an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies available at the ready for late morning or afternoon hunger pangs.

Small changes in habits and behaviors combine to yield big results over time. For example, by making healthier food choices, you stave off depression and feelings of negativity that are directly linked to poor nutrition. The key is to set forth each day making conscious decisions about your choices and sticking with healthy options that provide greater benefit to your overall physical health and wellbeing.

Once you’re managing a specific healthy behavior or choice consistently, institute another healthy habit you wish to incorporate into your life from your health goal list. Follow the list sequentially, only moving on if you’re comfortable in being able to effectively manage previously established healthy habits and choices. By breaking a larger health goal into smaller and more manageable steps, you’re more apt to follow through and be successful establishing healthier practices.

Getting Back on Track

Changing and modifying behaviors and choices toward more healthful living is a difficult task. There are certain to be moments when you go off the path of following goals toward healthy choices and behaviors. The key is to recognize you’re human, acknowledge that humans make mistakes and then get focused and back on track.

Missed a 7 a.m. workout at the gym because you wanted to sleep in on a rainy, dreary Saturday morning? Rather than mentally berate and punish yourself, think of a way to make good on your promise to yourself later that day or weekend. Options like riding your stationary bike, doing a fitness video on your home entertainment system or heading to the local mall or museum for an hour walk are great ways to make it up to yourself – and get rid of self-imposed guilt.

Oftentimes, when working toward a goal, a small stumble paves the way toward thinking about giving up on the goal completely. If you recognize, acknowledge and forgive yourself for slipping, you’re more likely to resolutely dig in and continue to follow through on your goal.

Being kind and gentle with yourself, along with positive self-motivation or self-talk praising your own successes, also helps you to overcome difficulties and rise to challenges, helping you to keep moving forward to sustaining healthy behaviors and choices, creating healthy daily habits that become ingrained within your lifestyle.

Improving Physical and Mental Health

There are several things you can do to improve your physical and mental health:

  • Talk with all your health providers, as regular health screenings are important.

    Find out what screenings and exams you need and when. Explore covered preventive services for women and other preventive care benefits available for women at no cost.

    If anything doesn’t feel right or is concerning. Use telemedicine, if available, make an in-person appointment, or communicate with your doctor or nurse by phone or e-mail. Write down any questions or issues you may have and take them to your appointment.

    If you are pregnant or gave birth within the last year and you are experiencing urgent maternal warning signs.

  • Enjoy a healthy, balanced diet.

    A healthy balanced diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, with proper nutrition an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Learn the basics of healthier eating habits.

    A healthy eating plan includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat free and low-fat milk and other dairy products, lean meats, and is low in salt, saturated and trans fats, and added sugars.

    Women need folic acid every day for the healthy new cells the body makes daily. It’s also important to help prevent major birth defects during pregnancy.

    Avoid drinking too much alcohol. Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions and can lead to the development of chronic diseases. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation, which is up to 1 drink a day for women.

  • Get active.

    Physical activity helps improve your overall health. Get out and about and enjoy the spring and summer weather. Physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health and has many benefits, including lowering your risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death for women.

    Adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity that requires moderate effort. You don’t have to do it all at once but get at least 10 minutes of exercise at one time.

    Adults should do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week that include all major muscle groups. Women especially benefit as strength training can create stronger bones and stave off osteoporosis.

    More than 1 out of 4 older people falls each year and women fall more often than men. Strength and balance training can help reduce falls.

  • Prioritize your mental health and wellbeing.

    Keep your mind and body healthy by taking time to unwind and enjoy your favorite activities.

    Research shows positive mental health is associated with improved overall health and well-being. It may be tough to maintain healthy behaviors and manage stress.

    There are some important steps you can take to get the support you need to cope with stress:

    - Take care of your body.

       Take steps to prevent yourself from getting sick.

       Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.

       Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.

       Exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.

       Avoid the use of substances such as alcohol and drugs.

    - Make time to unwind. Prioritize doing some other activities you enjoy daily.

    - Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you’re feeling.

    - Find a local support group. Support groups provide a safe place to find comfort and encouragement.

    - Recognize when you need more help. If stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row, or you are thinking about suicide, talk to a psychologist, social worker or professional counselor.

    - If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others:

       Visit the Disaster Distress Helpline call or text 1-800-985-5990.

       Visit the National Suicide Prevention or call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

       Visit the National Domestic Violence or call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

       Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Helpline or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

  • Practice healthy behaviors.

    Daily decisions influence overall health. Small actions can help keep you safe, healthy and set a good example:

    Get enough sleep for your overall health. It impacts how you feel and perform during the day. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Children and adolescents should get between 8 to 12 hours of sleep depending on age each night.

    Avoid distracted driving, which is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from the road. Each day in the U.S., approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

    Be smoke free. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and affects a person’s overall health, as well as those you love. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569 for Spanish speakers) or visit Smokefree Woman for free resources, including quit coaching, a quit plan, educational materials and referrals to other resources where you live.

Your Capital Women’s Care team of seasoned, compassionate women’s health care providers is here to address your questions and concerns relating to optimizing your personal health and wellbeing and any women’s health issue. Our premier group of doctors, nurses and support staff prioritize comprehensive care and treatment to help you optimize your personal health and wellbeing, so you enjoy a long quality life.



Our Mission

The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.


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