Why Young Women Should Care About Healthcare

As young women start to make more of their own decisions, some of the most important choices they face are related to their health. Unhealthy eating habits, work and social stress, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), lack of physical activity and substance abuse are some of the health issues faced by many young women today.

Young women healthcare“A lot of young women feel that they’re invincible,” says Jessica Keller, DO, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. “They don’t realize that these habits can put them at higher risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes as they get older.”

On the positive side, Dr. Keller feels this age is also the most influential time in a woman’s life when it comes to determining long-term health. “Having a long, healthy life is greatly influenced by choices we make when we’re young,” says Dr. Keller. “Early adulthood is the time when we begin to form many of our lifelong habits.”

Why do young women need health screenings?

Screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. If you’re 18 or older, getting regular preventive screenings is one of the most important steps you can take to manage your health. That's because when a condition is diagnosed early, it is usually easier to treat. And regular checkups can help you and your doctor identify lifestyle changes you can make to avoid certain conditions.

The Young Woman’s Check-Up Checklist

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends these screenings:

1. Breast Cancer: An annual clinical breast exam is an effective method for early detection of breast cancer. Ask your doctor whether a mammogram is right for you based on your age, family history, overall health and personal concerns.

2. Cervical Cancer: Have a Pap test every one to two years if you are 21 years old and have been sexually active. This test can spot the earliest signs of cervical cancer, when the chance of curing it is very high.

3. STDs: Sexually active women ages 25 years and younger should be screened annually for chlamydia because this age group is at highest risk. Ask your doctor about screening for other STDs.

4. High Blood Pressure: Starting at age 18, have your blood pressure checked at least every two years. High blood pressure (140/90 or higher) can cause stroke, heart attack, kidney and eye problems and heart failure.

5. Diabetes: Get screened for diabetes (high blood sugar) if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medication for high blood pressure. Over time, diabetes can affect different parts of your body such as your eyes, kidneys and nerves.

6. High Cholesterol: Starting at age 20, have your cholesterol checked regularly if you smoke, have diabetes or high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease.

7. Skin cancer: Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death for women ages 25-29. The incidence among young women has increased by 50 percent over the last 30 years (largely due to the use of tanning beds). See a dermatologist annually if you have a family history of skin cancer, or semi-annually if you have actually had the disease.

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What Is Different About Breast Cancer
in Younger Women?

pink ribbonBreast cancer may be viewed as something that affects women over 40, but the truth is that breast cancer can and does affect younger women as well. Diagnosing breast cancer in younger women can be more difficult, because their breast tissue is generally denser than the breast tissue in older women. By the time a lump in a younger woman’s breast can be felt, the cancer often is advanced.

Perform monthly self-exams
By performing monthly breast self-exams, you will be able to more easily identify any changes in your breasts that you can report to your doctor. “Because young women have their whole life ahead of them, they should get to know what their normal breasts feel like and pay attention if there are changes,” says Dr. Keller.

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WE
Can Help

WE--Women Enlightened for better health

WE — Women Enlightened for Better Health — is a FREE health initiative created to empower women of all ages who want to live their best life, in the best of health. As a member, you’ll have the resources and support you need to help you make positive choices and maintain good health.

Liv AidWhen you join we, you’ll receive a FREE LIV® breast self-examination aid that is designed to help women more easily examine their breast tissue. It molds to the skin and provides a smooth surface for the fingers to easily glide over the breast tissue.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be the best you can be.

Membership is free — learn more and sign up now >

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Why Young Women
Should Care About Healthcare
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Aiken Regional Medical Centers is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.     

Aiken Regional Medical Centers
302 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801
803-641-5000

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© 2014 Aiken Regional Medical Centers. All rights reserved.

Note:The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither Aiken Regional Medical Centers, or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.       

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