Baptist Health La Grange: Women’s Preventative Health
Internist Sarah Thayer, MD talk about the steps women can take to become healthier and protect themselves against disease.
Women’s Preventative Health
Sarah Thayer, MD, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
Preventative health is really just screening for potential health problems before people feel sick and before they have symptoms. Those types of things involve lab tests, screening procedures such as colonoscopies and mammograms, and then also immunizations, which can protect us against disease before it happens.
I recommend that women — whether they are teenagers, 18 years old, or 65 years old — they should at least get a physical every year.
There are actually many diseases that can be caught early if women have appropriate screenings for that, such as going to your physical exams. A good example would be monitoring your vital signs, monitoring for high blood pressure. Many people have high blood pressure and they don’t know about it, and there are secondary effects, such as kidney disease, heart attacks and strokes. If that’s caught early, it’s something you can discuss with your primary care physician, and diet and exercise modification can be implemented. Then, if there are medications that need to be added later on, that’s important.
The important thing is that if diseases are caught early, it’s usually better. They don’t progress and they don’t have secondary effects if we can catch them early. Generally, as women age, screening becomes more vigorous or increases. That’s just because as we get older, certain diseases start to become more common. The good thing about that is that we talk about medical conditions that you have right now and how that’s going to affect your future health so that overall, we’re looking at the big picture.