Ways that women can protect their health

From making sure you have your cervical screening to checking up on your mental health, it’s important for women to take steps to keep themselves well and healthy both physically and mentally. Here are some important things you can do:

Check your breasts

Breast cancer is one of the most common affecting women but catching it early means it doesn’t have to be a killer. The earlier it is caught, the better the success of treatment. Carrying out regular breast self-examinations is essential. Signs to be aware of include puckering, texture changes, shape changes or lumps. Anything that has altered should be pointed out to a GP. Over the age of 50, women are invited to breast screening every 3 years and it’s important to attend these checks.

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Cervical screening

No woman enjoys going to their cervical screening appointment, but it really can be a life-saving procedure. The test involves taking a small sample of cells from the cervix that can identify if any changes are taking place that could indicate a pre-cancerous state. If caught early, cervical cancer is successfully treatable but as symptoms don’t often appear until late stage, attending a cervical screening is crucial. Many cervical cancer cases are caused by the human papillomavirus which is contracted through sexual intercourse. Always practice safe sex to avoid potential infections which could damage your health without any symptoms. If in doubt, try Bexley Home STI kits from bexleysexualhealth.org/home_sti_kits

Blood pressure and cholesterol

More commonly associated with men, heart disease is also a leading cause of death in women in the UK. Having high blood pressure and high levels of bad cholesterol are both risk factors for heart disease, stroke and heart attack. This is why you should get both checked regularly so you can nip any potential problems in the bud. Lifestyle changes that help include giving up smoking, losing weight and reducing your intake of saturated fat and/or salt.

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Don’t ignore depression

Women are twice as likely to suffer with depression as men, with around one fifth of women being diagnosed with the illness at some point in their lives. Reasons could possibly include hormonal changes, pregnancy and menopause effects. Societal factors could include the pressures of having a career, the stresses of motherhood and other responsibilities in life. Thankfully, women are more inclined to talk about their feelings and discuss symptoms with a doctor.

Don’t be tempted to just put everything down to hormone-induced mood swings as it could be depression. Telling signs include feelings of despair, deep sadness that won’t shift, fatigue, and an inability to concentrate or enjoy things you used to enjoy. Any of these feelings mean you should seek professional help as there are many different treatment options available to improve your quality of life.

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