Oregon celebrates Women’s Health Week
Oregon News Service
Portland, OR — Mother’s Day isn’t the only day for moms to feel special. Health care experts say women of all ages should be making themselves a higher priority, every day.
This is National Women’s Health Week, a good time to start. The messages of eating right and getting daily physical activity are common, but perhaps are too easy to ignore when women are juggling careers, families, and other responsibilities.
Individual events for National Women’s Health Week are keyed to this year’s theme, “It’s Your Time.” Denise Johnson, the health education coordinator for CareOregon, says she hopes Oregon women take those words to heart.
“For women, taking care of others before we take care of ourselves comes very natural and is very common,” Johnson says. “But we also need to remember that, for us to take care of others to the best of our ability, we need to make ourselves a priority.”
Johnson says mental health is just as important as physical health, from getting enough sleep to learning to manage stress. She urges women to spend more time preventing health problems, with checkups and screenings, and to avoid behaviors that invite trouble, like smoking or not wearing a seat belt.
Johnson has several tips for women, by age group. Those under 40 should ask their doctor about the need for folic acid, a ‘B’ vitamin that helps prevent birth defects. Women in their 40s need to have the “mammogram discussion” with their doctor: how often to get them, depending on health history. Those from age 50 to 64 should get a bone density test, and women 65 and older, a one-time pneumonia vaccination.
Johnson advises all women to write down three topics or questions before that doctor visit.
“Sometimes, we get into conversations, and we leave and we say, ‘Oh, I should have asked the doctor about this.’ Coming in with a plan makes that 15 or 20 minutes beneficial to you, and to your health care provider,” Johnson says.
On Tuesday, May 10, a rally for women’s health begins at 10 a.m. on the State Capitol steps, Salem, hosted by the Oregon Women’s Health & Wellness Alliance.
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