National Women’s Health Week, celebrated during the week of Mother’s Day each year, is recognized to remind women to make their health a priority. We spoke with Utica Park Clinic’s Dr. Emily Grewe-Nelson, about the importance of women’s health and maintaining a relationship with your primary care physician.
When it comes to women’s health, yearly wellness checkups are an important factor. “One of the best things women can do for themselves is to get a yearly wellness checkup,” said Dr. Grewe-Nelson. “Even if you are healthy and do not have a chronic disease, you still need to visit a doctor for an overall wellness checkup. During this checkup, we’ll talk to you about diet and exercise, how to improve your overall health and how to prevent chronic illnesses. A wellness checkup does not always include a pap smear or mammogram, but those things can be discussed with your physician depending on your age. Things like cholesterol screenings can also be included in those wellness checkups, if needed.”
Starting at certain ages, women should be partaking in a number of wellness screenings. “We want to take as many preventative steps as we can to keep you as healthy as possible, which is why screenings are so important,” stated Dr. Grewe-Nelson. “Women over the age of 21 should be getting regular cervical cancer screenings (pap smears), which generally take place every three to five years. The recommendations for mammograms vary. Some say mammograms should begin at age 40, while others recommend age 50. These are things you will want to discuss with your primary care physician. Colonoscopies should begin at age 50. If you have a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease or diabetes, you should talk to your primary care physician about heart screenings.”
The relationship between you and your primary care physician is one that should not be taken lightly. “Find a primary care physician that you can trust and be very honest with,” said Dr. Grewe-Nelson. “Oftentimes, questions or concerns will come up that could be overlooked or missed entirely if you are not comfortable with sharing things with your doctor. Try to be in tune with your body and any changes you experience. Don’t be embarrassed about mentioning something to your doctor just because it’s a sensitive subject. As physicians, we are used to discussing complex topics. Our goal is to build that trust so we can establish the best plan to keep you healthy.”
Maintaining healthy eating habits and a good exercise regimen is the foundation of good health. “A healthy diet and exercise are two things I recommend to everyone,” stated Dr. Grewe-Nelson. “A balanced diet includes a variety of foods like fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains. You should also watch your sugar intake, as well as the amount of fried and fatty foods you eat. When it comes to exercise, you should have a regular exercise program that you follow. Whether it’s walking for 30 minutes a day, doing some kind of gym workout or classes a few times a week or doing yoga poses at home, consistent exercise is key.”
Reproductive health is another huge component of women’s health. “Reproductive health is something that a lot of women tend to push aside, but it should definitely be addressed,” said Dr. Grewe-Nelson. “If you are of child-bearing age, I want to make sure you are aware of your contraceptive options. I like to know what your goals are in your fertility, if you are currently trying to conceive and to figure out how I can best assist you during this process. I want you to feel empowered to take control of your reproductive health and to feel comfortable with making these decisions with your primary care physician.”
Getting annual wellness exams and having an established primary care physician are at the forefront of women’s health. “I cannot stress the importance enough of making sure you get your yearly wellness exams and that you have a primary care physician that you can see if any issues should arise,” stated Dr. Grewe-Nelson. “Having them available to discuss general wellness and your ongoing health is a major factor in any woman’s wellness journey.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Grewe-Nelson, call 918-749-3533. For other Utica Park Clinic physician options, call 918-579-DOCS (3627) or go to UticaParkClinic.com/physicians.