12:45 PM Eastern - Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Women's Checkup Day! #the-healthcare-law

Yesterday was Mother's Day. We shower our Moms with flowers and chocolate, jewelry and adorable cards, we make her breakfast in bed and we take her to brunch. And that's nice. And I'm sure she appreciates it.

I have another idea about how we can honor our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our friends. We can empower women to make their health a top priority by urging them to participate in National Women's Check Up Day today as part of National Women's Health Week.

What is more important than insuring the health of the women we love? And what better way to focus on her health than using this day as a reminder to check in with a medical professional for just that reason?

Today is dedicated to highlighting the need for women to visit their health care professionals for checkups and to encourage women to schedule regular checkups.

Consistent medical attention is crucial for women's health - for early detection of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental health issues, sexually transmitted conditions and additional health issues.

Pledging to schedule - and follow through with - annual physicals can lower the risks of chronic health conditions and can make it more likely that diseases will be caught early through screening tests such as mammograms and Pap tests.

There are several steps to participate in National Women's Check Up Day:

  1. Make an appointment for a checkup with your health care professional for a physical and screenings.
  2. Have an informed discussion with your health care professional about what screenings and tests you need, when you should have them and how often.
  3. Use the interactive screening chart provided by womenshealth.gov to learn about the screenings that are recommended by age. Schedule those screenings as you hit those milestones.
  4. Pledge to schedule at least one preventative health care screening during May 2012.

We love our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our friends. We can't imagine not having them in our lives. This reminder that preventative care is a vital step towards maintaining women's health is the best way to assure that the important women in our lives are there for as long as possible.

Two screening charts you can refer to learn about what screening women need at certain ages to stay healthy from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health and on Planned Parenthood's Tumblr.

Need to schedule a checkup or find a health center? Plannedparenthood.org has a useful health center locator.

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