Women’s Health Issues: TRICARE’s Got Them Covered
As the summer approaches, we tend to look toward traveling and vacations and health care is far from our minds. However, May is the perfect time for women to consider making those appointments that they don’t make time for any other time of the year.
The month of May brings two observances that celebrate women. Mother’s Day, the second Sunday of the month, is followed by Women’s Health Emphasis week, which starts the Monday after Mother’s Day. This initiative was started by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health to empower women to make their own health a priority and to help women understand what it means to be well. This is especially important because the number one killer of U.S. women is heart disease – and it’s preventable. As a matter of fact, of the top five women’s health issues: heart disease, depression, breast cancer, osteoporosis and autoimmune disease, three of them are preventable.
Dealing with heart disease can be tough. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost two-thirds (64%) of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. While some women have no symptoms, others experience sharp chest pain or discomfort, pain in the neck/jaw/throat or pain in the upper abdomen or back. These may occur during rest, begin during physical activity, or be triggered by mental stress.
There are several things women can do to fight this disease. First, know the risk factors. High blood pressure, high numbers for low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. Second, know your numbers – blood pressure and cholesterol - and take action if they are not within a healthy range. Third, get preventive health screenings and ask your provider if you should be tested for diabetes. Finally, increase healthy behaviors like eating right and exercising regularly.
TRICARE covers clinical preventive services for all beneficiaries. Find information about specific preventive services at www.tricare.mil/PreventiveCare.
Many women place everyone else’s well-being ahead of their own throughout the year. May is the perfect month for women to place themselves at the front of the line.