Exercise & Fitness

Improving Wellness for Women Through Regular Checkups

Dr. Ravi Govila of Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City illustrates how simple prevention can really improve problem areas of women’s health.

{Q} I’ve heard about “well-women” visits. What exactly does a visit involve?

Typically, well-women visits include counseling on healthy habits, preventive screenings and immunizations. Your healthcare provider will also measure your blood pressure and weight. Lastly, you’ll receive a comprehensive physical exam, including a breast exam, pelvic exam and Pap smear.

{Q} As a working mother, aka Chief of Family Operations, I have little “me” time. What strategies can help me better manage my health?

Have a question for our wellness experts? Email [email protected]  and look for your question in future issues.

We’re all so busy that it can be difficult to find the time to make our health a priority. Fortunately, some of the tools you use to coordinate your family activities can also help you manage your health. Look for phone apps that will help you track exercise and nutrition.

Also, find ways your family can be healthy together including eating dinner at the dining room table on a regular basis and participating in activities everyone enjoys, like walking or bicycling.

{Q} Why should I visit my doctor beyond an annual physical and breast exam if I’m not sick?

If you don’t have any other medical conditions, you may not need to. However, if you have any chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or other significant risk factors, you may need to see your doctor more often. Ask your doctor how often you need to visit.

{Q} Help me prioritize. What regular checkups are most important for me to get?

You should talk to your doctor about what checkups are most important for you. He or she will help you prioritize based on individual factors like age, family history and existing health conditions.

{Q} Obesity is a risk factor in my family. How can I change lifestyle habits to prevent obesity in my children and myself?

I know we’re all looking for an easy fix, but the truth is that it comes down to eating healthier food and exercising regularly. Try not to eat fast food. Eat fruits and vegetables with every meal and cut out soda and sugary drinks.

Children need an hour of physical activity a day, at least five days a week; adults need at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Limit TV and video games by finding things to do outside that your whole family enjoys.

{Q} I’m pregnant and concerned about gestational diabetes. Should I be screened? What’s involved?

Advanced maternal age, a family history of diabetes and being overweight prior to pregnancy are some risk factors for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually starts after the 24th week of pregnancy, so an oral glucose tolerance test is commonly given between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.

If you have any of the above risk factors, then your doctor may do the test earlier. The oral glucose tolerance test is a lab test to see how your body breaks down sugar. Basically, your blood sugar is measured, you then drink a solution high in sugar and your blood sugars are measured again.