Women’s Health Cheat Sheet

Not sure when to get what checked out? Use this chart to make sure you’re up to date with your preventative check-ups.

Despite working in health care and advising patients to get routine screenings and check-ups, 25 percent of nurses are not staying on top of their own health screenings, according to the American Nurses Association’s 2016 Health Risk Appraisal. Reasons for this include feeling overwhelmed, putting the care of patients and family members before themselves, and confusion about what age certain tests are needed.
“Nurses often have the mentality that ‘no news is good news,’ but intellectually we know that’s not true. Many diseases are manageable with early intervention,” says Brenda Murdough, a PACU nurse at Duke University Hospital and a 36-year veteran.
The annual physical under review
In the past, most physicians recommended yearly physical exams, but recently The American Medical Association altered that recommendation. “If you're a healthy individual, with no health conditions or family history, you can get a physical every two to three years,” advises Toni Melvin, MS, CRRN, NP-C, an Adult Nurse Practitioner for Veterans Affairs. “If you have concerns or any issues, then going yearly is best.”
Getting specific exams and preventative screenings from specialized providers is crucial to preventing disease and helping nurses to live longer, healthier lives.
A Health Cheat Sheet for Women
Not sure when to get what checked out? Use this chart to make sure you’re up to date with your preventative check-ups. Please check with your provider if you have special health issues to consider.

Download and print this Women's Health Cheatsheet for easy reference on when women need to get checkups and screenings. 

Screening Type When To Get It Special Considerations
Dental Exam The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends going at least once per year for an exam and cleaning, starting in childhood. The ADA suggests talking to your dentist to determine if you need to go more often.
Eye Exam The American Optometric Association recommends a vision test with an optometrist or ophthalmologist every two years after the age of 18. Children should be tested more frequently.
Physical Every two to three years for adults ages 18 - 40, and every one to two years thereafter, if you have no health conditions nor a family history of any issues, suggests Melvin. Melvin adds that if you take regular prescription medications, your health care provider is likely to want to see you more often.
Diabetes Screening Every three years, beginning at the age of 45, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Talk to your health care provider about getting screened more often if you're overweight or at risk for diabetes.
Blood Pressure Test At least once every two years, starting at 20, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
If you have blood pressure higher than 120/80, both the AHA and CDC suggest talking to your health care provider about getting checked more frequently.
HIV/STD Tests USPSTF recommends yearly screenings from the ages of 15 to 65.
Cholesterol Screening If you are 20 or older and have not been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, the AHA recommends having your cholesterol levels checked every four to six years as part of a cardiovascular risk assessment. If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or other conditions, you may need to be checked more frequently. In those cases, talk to your provider.
Pap Test According to the Department of Health and Human Services, women between the ages of
21 - 29, should get a Pap test every three years.
30 or older? Get a Pap test and HPV test together every five years.
Over 65? Check with your doctor.
Mammogram Begin annual mammograms between the ages of 40 - 44. Women aged 45 - 50 need one every year and women 55 and older, every two years, according to the American Cancer Society.  
Colorectal Cancer Screening USPSTF recommends screening 
for colorectal cancer beginning at 50 and continuing until 75.

If you are at high risk of colon cancer based on family history or other factors, you may need to be screened using a different schedule.
Additional resources can be found at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines and CDC webpages on Check-Ups.
It’s easy to forget to make appointments for routine screenings. Use these ideas to help you stay on top of them.
  • At the end of one visit, schedule the next one. Even if your appointment is two years later, your health care provider’s office can add it to their calendar and give you a call when the appointment is approaching.
  • Use important dates as reminders. Anderson tells her patients to take stock of their screenings on their birthday each year. She suggests couples use their anniversary as a time to take stock of their health.
  • Sign up for text message alerts or the email list of your health care providers. They’ll frequently notify you when you’re due for another screening or visit.
  • Take advantage of pharmacies that offer screenings. Many have a blood pressure machine that you can use while you wait for a prescription. Pharmacies nationwide are adding more and more offerings.
  • Utilize hospital or community health fairs. Many offer screenings free of charge and on the spot.
Find this information helpful? Have you seen our Men’s Health Cheat Sheet? Share them with a nurse you know on 
Twitter, and Instagram by clicking on the social media links on the left side of the page. Tag us with #HealthyNurse.

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Source List:
All About Vision. Eye Exam Cost And When To Have An Eye Exam.
American Cancer Society. Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer
CDC. Check-Ups
Medline Plus. Health Screening - Women Ages 18-39.
US DHHS. Office on Women's Health. National Women's Health Week
US News & World Reports. 
The Annual Physical: Do You Need a Yearly Exam?
US Preventative Services Task Force. USPSTF A & B Recommendations.
Posted by Aieda Solomon on Jun 5, 2017 10:09 AM America/Chicago

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I was during some research on what the guidelines for "annual health exams"  and this is what I found the AMA recommends.  AMA now suggest that medical checkups be referred to as Periodic Health Assessments or Examinations and that they be performed every five years (for adults over 18) until age 40 and every one to three years thereafter.

If we know that HTN is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke and if one out of every 6 people have high blood pressure and Don't know it (roughly 18 million people) cause there's no warning signals in most cases.....why would they make such a recommendation??!!!

Fortunately we are at a turning point where technology, science and health are creating advanced wristbands that allow all of us to become more engage with our biometrics in real time.  Up to this point we know more about the health of our cars than we do with the measurements of our bodies!  I'm wearing a snazzy wristband that monitors my BP with estimated measurements daily (and they are pretty close to an BP cuff reading)....I can set it for readings as frequently as every 30 minutes.  I can even download the data and share it with my healthcare provider.  

This will be a gamechanger in health and wellness industry!!...More and more people will finally become an active participant in their healthcare team.  And as nurses, isn't this the direction we want the population to go towards!!

  • Posted Sat 08 Jul 2017 04:37 PM CDT

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