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 Melissa Kirsch6 ways to outsmart your paralysis and actually get something done
I procrastinate horribly — not about everything, just about phone calls.
Sometimes I put off making dinner reservations until all I can get is a 10 p.m.
slot at my third-favorite restaurant. I regularly run out of prescriptions
because I can't manage to phone the pharmacy for refills. I dial my mother so
rarely that, when I do, she thinks someone died. For no reason I can
understand, the prospect of making even...
"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. "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 you don't need to worry about."
To make the task even easier, WebMD compiled a list of the top five lifesaving medical tests every woman needs and why.
No. 1 Heart Smarts
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women, and heart disease claims about 250,000 women's lives a year. That's nearly six times greater than the number of women that die from breast cancer, 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.
"If there is any question of extra heartbeats, chest pain, or shortness of breath, women should have a stress echocardiogram," she recommends. A stress echocardiogram is usually done to determine whether you have a significantly reduced flow of blood to your heart.