6 Sep 2021

I’m a woman, what’s your superpower?

Women’s health week 2021 – celebrating the Wonder Woman in all of us

September 6-10th 2021 marks Women’s Health week.

A healthy woman is truly a wonder woman – in mind, body, and spirit.

To ensure you are keeping your superpower at maximum charge, here are our top 5 checks to ensure any health issues are detected early.

Breast check

Being familiar with your breasts ensures that if anything ‘unfamiliar’ appears, you will know quickly. Undertaking monthly breast checks will help you keep on top of any changes (add them to your diary – away from your period).

Click here for a short video on self-examination.

Women over 40 years are entitled to a free mammogram every 2 years via BreastScreen Australia. Contact them directly or talk to your GP.

Heart health check

Heart disease can develop over years, in some cases without any clear symptoms. Coronary heart disease (CAD) is the most common condition diagnosed in Australia, and develops when the major blood vessels supplying blood to your heart become narrowed or blocked.*

To help you get the best possible outcome with heart disease, early identification and prevention is key. When you know your risk, you can take the necessary steps required to reduce the risk of having a future cardiac event.

If you’re 45 and over, or 30 and over if you’re of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, it I recommended to book your heart health check – talk to your GP today.

Click here to watch a short video on understanding coronary artery disease and some steps you can take to reduce your risk.

*AIHW, 2020

Mental health check

Research shows that high levels of mental health are associated with increased learning, creativity and productivity, positive social relationships, and improved physical health and life expectancy. In contrast, mental health conditions can cause distress, impact on day-to- day functioning and relationships, and are associated with poor physical health and premature death from suicide.

A quick weekly check-in with yourself can assist you in noticing any changes in your ability to cope with the day-to-day.

Ask yourself:

  • How stressed, anxious, or down am I feeling?
  • How is my body feeling – tight, dry mouth, racing heart, tight chest?
  • Have my sleep patterns changed – am I waking in the night, struggling to go back to sleep, waking groggy?
  • How are my thoughts – am I worrying more, thinking I can’t cope?
  • How am I reacting to others? Am I short tempered, unable to focus, reaching for alcohol or comfort food more frequently?

Choose a check-in buddy – someone you trust and can be honest with. Set up times to support each other as often as you need to and build self-care plans to help.

Skin check

A monthly skin examination will help you notice any changes in existing moles, or see any new ones, both of which can be early signs of skin cancer. Be thorough and include your face, scalp, between your toes and fingers as well as palms, soles of the feet and armpits.

Click here for a guide on what to look for.

If you are at increased risk for skin cancer or have a family history, talk to your doctor or dermatologist about regular in-clinic checks.

Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist measurement checks

BMI is one measurement used to determine whether you are in a healthy weight range for your height.

Click here for a quick assessment of your BMI.

Although BMI is a useful measurement, it needs to be considered alongside other measurements such as your waist. Here’s a quick ‘how to’ on measuring your waist:

  1. Find the top of your hip bone and the bottom of your
  2. Breathe out
  3. Place the tape measure midway between these points and wrap it around your
  4. Check your

Your health is at risk if your waist size is:

Men: Over 94cm (about 37 inches)* Women: Over 80cm (about 31.5 inches)*

* These guidelines are based on World Health Organization and National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations.

In addition to the above, your age, ethnicity, gender, and body composition are part of your health picture, along with other factors such as family history. Talk to or GP to get a comprehensive overview of your health and wellbeing.

Cervical screening

Women do not need to start having cervical screening tests until they turn 25. If you’re younger than 25, you are highly unlikely to have cervical cancer and have probably been vaccinated against HPV. The test is carried out by your GP every 5 years.

You need to have the test if:

  • you are aged 25 to 74 years old
  • you have a cervix
  • you have ever been sexually active

You need to have regular cervical screening tests even if you have been vaccinated against HPV.

Early detection and diagnosis are key to managing and preventing many of the diseases and conditions that negatively affect women’s health. Being familiar with ‘you’, through regular checks, will help ensure you are functioning optimally.

Check in with your GP today. Visit: www.genesicare.com for more information.