It is that time of year again, when I have to go for my annual health check. I like to do it in March because I feel good about showing myself some self-care as International Women’s Day approaches, especially after my Mom passed away in 2010. I always imagine her nagging me to make the appointment, as I might postpone it otherwise.
Now that I am in my 50s, and going through menopause, I also have to make sure I meet my gynaecologist and get a thorough examination, along with a mammogram, thyroid check and PAP smear—and anything else she prescribes.
It is so much easier to organize a health check these days by swiping a few keys on our smartphones or computer. A couple of decades ago, before we used technology, Mom went through menopause and getting an appointment with our gynaecologist in Hyderabad was a challenge. One couldn’t get through to her office on the phone and it was days before we could schedule a time with her.
I still remember planning the trip to the doctor’s clinic on the way back from work, to sweet talk the receptionist into giving us a time convenient to us. We would attempt to combine some shopping in the area as there was a wholesale market nearby. I also have fond memories of packing our bag with a book to keep ourselves busy in the waiting room, then finally ending up talking, and not even opening the book.
Today, as I juggle my work schedule to find a convenient date and thank my stars for the facility of an online appointment with my own gynaecologist, I am also renewing my promise to my Mom to do the following:
- Eat healthy
- Keep my blood sugar under control
- Drink enough water
- Get eight hours of sleep
- Exercise every day
- Be mindful about my calcium, Vitamin D and cholesterol levels
- Keep my appointment with my Ophthalmologist and dentist
- Stick to a strict work schedule
- Ensure I take time off to relax
- Stay stress-free
- Stay positive
- Spend time with friends
- Travel more to see new places
Along with that, I want to share some wonderful lifestyle advice and health tips my Mother gave me:
- Practice breathwalking. This is a great way to get exercise and stay stress free, while refocusing the mind
- Dress in layers to combat those hot flashes
- Keep doctors’ appointments and undergo routine screening, because better safe than sorry, and prevention is better than cure.
- Minimize regrets. Look ahead while enjoying each moment.
- Practise self-care. If I don’t take care of myself, I cannot take care of others.
- Dress well. Nothing like looking good to feel good
- Laugh a lot. Life definitely looks better through a smile or laughter!
- Believe that everyone has a good side. It makes life easier.
And while we are at it, let me also share compulsory medical tests every woman should have, no matter what their age to ensure they are in good health:
- Audiogram to check for hearing loss
- Bone mineral density test to check if you are at risk for osteoporosis.
- Clinical breast exam and mammogram to detect breast cancer
- Colonoscopy to check for colorectal health and detect risk for colorectal cancer
- Comprehensive eye exam to catch eye health problems and changes in vision
- Dental screening to rule out oral cancer and confirm dental health
- Heart health test to eliminate risk for heart disease
- Lipid profile to track risk of heart disease
- Mole screening to check for skin problems and skin cancer
- Pap smear to detect cervical cancer
- Diabetes screening, especially if you are overweight/have high cholesterol/high BP/family history of diabetes
- Thyroid problems if there is a family history of thyroid disorders or if you’re suddenly gaining/losing weight and feeling depressed.
- STD-sexually transmitted diseases if you are trying to get pregnant,
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- Lung health check
Prevention is infinitely better than cure and undergoing these health tests can make sure you stay healthy. Because healthy women are happy women!
Happy International Women’s Day!