It’s National Women’s Health Week! This observance is an opportunity to empower women to make their health a priority and to encourage them to take steps to improve their health.
Here are a few tips for college-age woman who want to live a healthy lifestyle:
Visit a doctor or nurse for a well-woman visit (checkup) and preventive screenings
Ask them how often you need to be seen for a routine checkup. Use this time to bring up any health concerns or questions you have. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends college-age women get these regular screenings:
- Pap test every three years if you are 21 or older and have a cervix
- Chlamydia test annually through age 24 if you are sexually active or pregnant
- Cholesterol test regularly starting at age 20 if you are at increased risk for heart disease
- Diabetes screening if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure
- Gonorrhea test annually if you are sexually active and at increased risk
- HIV test at least once (discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse as you may need more frequent tests)
- Syphilis test annually if you are at increased risk or pregnant
Many of these tests are offered at the University Health Center, as well as well-woman visits. To schedule, call 402.472.5000.
Eat a high fiber, low fat diet. Include plenty of vegetables and fruits, and watch out for fried and prepared foods. Milk products and/or those containing other forms of protein and calcium are very important for women throughout their lifetime. Limited alcohol is also a plus. For more suggestions, visit womenshealth.gov.
Make sleep a priority
Sleep is easy to neglect, especially in college, but doing so can affect your academic success and overall quality of life. Lack of sleep is linked to a wide variety of physical and emotional illnesses. Benefits of sleep include stress reduction, improved focus and concentration and a boosted immune system. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Don’t let stress sneak up on you
Adequate sleep and good nutrition are two of the most important ways to decrease stress, anxiety, headaches and many physical complaints. If you feel overwhelmed by the stress in your life, seek out a counselor who can help guide you in ways to manage your stress. It’s all about coping and succeeding! Counseling and Psychological Services is here for you. To make an appointment, call 402.472.7450.
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, improve focus and concentration and increase energy. Also, it’s just plain good for your heart and body. You don’t have to go to a gym to enjoy the benefits of increased activity; take a walk, go swimming or ride a bike. For more information on the benefits of and ideas for physical activity, visit womenshealth.gov
Don’t neglect your sexual health
STD testing is recommended any time you have a new sexual partner. Condom use is a good way to prevent most STDs, but it does not guard against Herpes or Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
Stay current on your immunizations
Get an annual flu shot. Consider getting Gardasil, a three-shot series of immunizations that helps protection from HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer and genital warts. Check your tetanus shot status; you need one every 10 years.
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