Mahaska Health Partnership Suggests Regular Health Check-Ups for Women
MAHASKA COUNTY – As a woman, it’s easy to put regular check-ups on the backburner while taking care of your family. Mahaska Health Partnership shares the importance of regular health exams and when to schedule them.
“I know it can be easy to forget scheduling your regular check-ups,” New Sharon Medical Center Family Nurse Practitioner Lisa Smith shared. “However, it’s vital to make sure you’re taking care of yourself just like you’re taking care of your family. Many health conditions sneak up without any symptoms, but if caught early, are much easier to manage.”
According to Smith, one of the most important appointments a woman can schedule starting at age 21 is a female wellness exam. “If you only visit your provider for this exam, make sure to schedule it at least once every two years,” Smith stressed. “You will get a weight and blood pressure check, as well as a pelvic and breast exam and a pap smear. This regular appointment is an important way to manage your overall gynecological health.
“For those thinking about starting a family, making sure your health is suitable for childbirth is vital,” Smith continued. “If abnormalities are found during your exam, your provider will suggest treatment for any issues before they can cause complications. Screening for cervical cancer and STD’s is also done during this exam, both of which can be present without showing symptoms. Staying up to date on immunizations and making sure you are maintaining a healthy weight are also key factors in a successful pregnancy.”
Along with these check-ups, additional wellness screenings are recommended for women that can often be done at no cost to you. “Starting at age 18, make sure to get your blood pressure checked at least every other year,” Smith advised. “Cholesterol checks should start at age 20 and be monitored every five years. Blood glucose checks should also be done every three years starting at age 45, unless your family history suggests otherwise. MHP offers many of these screenings throughout the year at a reduced cost or even free, so take advantage.”
Once you reach age 40, additional screenings are recommended. “Mammograms should be performed yearly starting at age 40,” Smith shared. “We have advanced digital mammography technology that requires less radiation and captures images more quickly.
“At age 50, colorectal cancer screenings are recommended once every 10 years,” Smith continued. “Colon cancer is usually slow to spread and is very treatable if caught early. Bone density tests are also a good idea starting at age 65 to check for osteoporosis.”
When it comes to your health, Smith reminds women to be their own advocate. “You know your body better than anyone; make it a priority just like the other to-dos in your life. Don’t let the discomfort of a quick test keep you from being proactive with your health.”
Family Nurse Practitioner Lisa Smith enjoys caring for patients of all ages in a rural setting at New Sharon Medical Center. She prides herself on being a good listener and always wants her patients to feel well-equipped to continue their care at home. As a mother, Lisa understands the value of reliable information from someone you trust. When patients need advanced care, Lisa works closely with specialists on the MHP campus in Oskaloosa. For an appointment with Smith, call 641.637.2651.
Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit mahaskahealth.org.