From Rosie the Riveter to celebrated TV moms like Carol Brady and June
Cleaver to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, women certainly have a lot on their
plates - and unfortunately their health often takes a back seat to their
families and careers.
"The irony is that most women take better care of their cars than their
body, and that is in large part because an annual inspection is required to
continue driving your car," says Donnica Moore, MD, a women's health expert
based in Far Hills, N.J.
By Sari HarrarHow to get him to shape up - without nagging or driving yourself
Last winter, Eric Lagergren caught a stubborn cold. "I was exhausted for
a week and a half and just not getting any better," he says. He also was
drinking water constantly and getting up eight or nine times a night to go to
the bathroom. "Then I got clumsy," says Lagergren, 33, who's an editor
at the University of Michigan English Language Institute. "One weekend, I
broke two or three things around the house...
"Just like we have stickers on our cars to get your inspection renewed,
use this week or your birthday (as I do), to get your checkups," Moore
says. There is no reason not to take advantage of health care screening tests.
"We know that the earlier we identify any potential health problems, the
better our outcome will be," she says. And "if you are totally well, it
gives you great reassurance about a whole list of things don't need to worry
To make the task even easier, WebMD compiled a list of the top five
lifesaving health care screening tests every woman needs and why.
No. 1 Heart Smarts
disease claims about 500,000 women's lives a year. That's more than
the next five causes of death combined, according to the American Heart
Association. But it doesn't have to be this way, says Marianne J. Legato, MD, a
professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and
Surgeons in New York City and the founder of the Foundation for Gender Specific
Medicine. "Without a doubt, 80% of coronary disease can be prevented with
proper lifestyle modifications including healthy diet and increased physical
activity," says Legato, author of several books including Why Men Never
Remember and Women Never Forget.
One way to assess your risk is to get health care screening tests for total
cholesterol levels, high density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good"
cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol, and
blood fats known as triglyceridest.
"If you are older than 50, I also recommend getting your C-reactive protein
(CRP), homocysteine, and lipoprotein (a) (LP(a)) checked," she says.