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Manisha Kalra, MD, FAAFP
Preventative Care In Women
Family Medicine Shady Grove, LLC

Preventative Care In Women

The health maintenance examination or annual physical exam in women is an opportunity to focus on disease prevention and health promotion. Women generally take care of others in their lives and put themselves behind.

Women and men have many of the same health problems. But these problems can affect women differently. For example

  • Women are more likely to die following a heart attack than men
  • Women are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men
  • Effects of sexually transmitted diseases can be more serious in women
  • Osteoarthritis affects more women than men
  • Women are more likely to have urinary tract problems

Women should be screened for tobacco use, drug and alcohol abuse, intimate partner violence, and depression.

Women should receive preconception counseling and contraception as needed, and all women planning or capable of pregnancy should take 400-800 mcg of folic acid per day.

Young girls and woman who are dating should be counseled on reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections, and screened for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

All women should be screened for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Women should be screened for obesity, elevated blood pressure and blood sugar.

Women 20 years of age and older should be screened for impaired or elevated cholesterol.

Those with sustained blood pressure greater than 135/80 mm Hg should be screened for type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Women 55-79 years of age should take 81 mg of aspirin per day when the benefits of stroke reduction outweigh the increased risk of gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

Women should begin cervical cancer screening via Pap smear test starting 21 years of age, and periodically thereafter. In most cases, screening may be discontinued at 65 years of age or after total hysterectomy.

Breast cancer screening with mammography is recommended in women starting at age of 40, sooner in those who have a family history of breast cancer.

Women should be screened for colorectal cancer from ages 50-75 years.

Osteoporosis screening is recommended in women 65 years and older, and in younger women with certain risk factors that may increase their risk of fractures.

Women should be immunized at recommended intervals according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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