Time for a to-do list for your health

May is the month for women! Yes, there’s Mother’s Day, when the focus is on special females in our lives. But Mother’s Day also kicks off National Women’s Health Week. So make this the time to write a to-do list for your own well-being. 

A well-woman visit goes at the top of the list. Be sure to make an appointment with your primary care provider every year for a preventive health check-up. If you’re on the Oregon Health Plan, the visits are fully covered. If you have private insurance, the annual wellness exam is typically fully covered as a preventive benefit, too, with no extra cost to you. Check with your insurer.

The well-woman visit is a chance to talk with your provider about how you’re doing, how you’d like to be doing, and what changes you can make to reach your goals.

At least once a year, talk with your doctor about:

  • Whether you plan to have children in the next year. Or what the right birth control method is for you. Or if you have menopausal symptoms.
  • Your weight, diet and physical activity level.
  • Your use of tobacco, alcohol and marijuana.
  • Any violence in your life. (If you need help now, call HelpLine, Jackson County’s 24-hour crisis hotline, at 541-779-4357 or toll-free, 1-855-216-2111. More info at http://bit.ly/2p53rJG)
  • Your prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, supplements and any other drugs.
  • Concerns about your mood, such as depression, or other mental health concerns.
  • Your family health history, including cancer and heart disease.
  • Protecting your skin from sun damage.

Also ask your health care provider if you need these screenings, tests, medicines or vaccines (shots) this year:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • HPV (age 26 and younger)
  • Pap (age 21 and older)
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Tuberculosis
  • Mammogram (age 40)
  • Low-dose aspirin (age 50)
  • Colorectal cancer (age 50)
  • Diabetes
  • Lung cancer (age 55)

All that will make for a full conversation at your wellness exam.

Many goals involve taking little steps, day by day. So every day, try to:

  • Eat healthfully. Go to ChooseMyPlate.gov for guidance.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity.
  • Get at least seven to eight hours of sleep.
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Take 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid.
  • Avoid tobacco. Or get help quitting.Are you a Jackson Care Connect member? You’re eligible for personal coaching and more through the Quit For Life program: http://ow.ly/czAy30bacoG
  • Limit alcohol use to one drink or less. You’ll find a lot of information related to alcohol and drug problems that can help you or a loved one, at http://bit.ly/2osU5bQ
  • Avoid illegal drugs. Don’t misuse prescription drugs. Women are more likely than men to misuse prescription drugs.
  • Wear a helmet when riding a bike.
  • Wear a seatbelt in the car.
  • Never text or talk on the phone while driving.
  • Be an aware pedestrian. Pay attention when you cross the street.

Every day you cross something off your list will take you one day farther into a healthy year.

Thank you to the federal office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We adapted these guidelines from their materials.



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