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Shining a light on women’s health

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — With it being national women’s health week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has created an initiative to encourage all women to be as healthy as possible.

Some health officials say fewer young women are seeing medical providers and often times many are unaware of the vital medical tests needed for preventative care.

“A lot of times, women are just busy…we have a lot going on whether its school or a family or life in general so I think its just hard to make time for that self-care but I think it’s one of the most important things we can do for our health,” said Kayla Lombard, Registered Nurse at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital’s Women and Infants Center.

A recent study conducted by the Journal of Women’s Health surveyed more than 40,000 women.
The study found that more than half of them reported visiting their OBGYN for all their health care ne and less than 10 percent reported seeing a primary care physician. One of the first things women’s health providers recommend is an annual wellness exam for preventative screenings and vaccines in addition to a check up with a gynecologist.

“It’s absolutely necessary to seek out primary care physician to kind of health you follow up with all of the areas of your health like blood pressure or breast health or your OB health or dental vision things like that but seeing an OB is also as important,” said Lombard.

But few women make it to both of these visits and health officials say that can be a problem. “It’s very important for preventative health steps to see someone who kind of gets the picture of everything coming in versus one specialty area,” said Lombard.

Health officials say many women are unsure about what ne to be tested when they go in for an annual exam. Annual exams are meant to monitor things like risks for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, nutrition, bone density and even mental health.

“If you have some family history or things that are getting missed, I think it’s very important in our society to seek preventative health so to be up on your physicals and being seen and routinely being examined by a physician,” said Lombard.

Health experts say women have a higher rate of misdiagnoses and later diagnoses for many fatal diseases but seeking preventative care when needed can help lower these numbers.