Commit to a Healthier Version of You
FDA’s Office of Women’s Health is celebrating our 30th anniversary, and we’re kicking off this milestone year by highlighting proven steps for a healthier life!
There’s no better time than the new year to commit to keeping healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We know you have many demands on your time but taking preventive health measures today can help lead to a longer, healthier life. Learn more about well visits, screening tests, routine blood tests, vaccines, and other preventive measures including routine exercise, healthy eating, and more.
Schedule your annual well visit
Annual well visits are different from the visits you may attend with your health care provider when you are sick or have an injury. Well visits involve physical exams that focus on preventive care and include screening tests that check for diseases. This is also a time to discuss topics such as sexual health, menopause management, as well as things that may be out of ordinary such as changes in bowel habits, mid-cycle or post-menopausal bleeding, etc. Your health care provider may also provide referrals for further tests or to see a specialist as needed.
A few things you can learn from a well visit:
- Full physical exam including calculating your body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure check
- What cancer screenings you may need at your age, and with your risk factors
- How your family health history can affect your own health
- Information about mental health resources
- What preventive health tools, like vaccines, you may need
Regular cancer screenings can help find and treat cancers early—before they have a chance to spread. Speak with your health care provider about what screening tests are right for you and when you should get them, including:
- Breast cancer screening (mammograms)
- Colorectal cancer screening (colonoscopy, stool tests)
- Cervical cancer screening (HPV/Pap test)
- Skin cancer screening
- Lung cancer screening
Routine blood tests
Blood tests are among the most common types of diagnostic tests. Routine blood tests can help check the function of your organs and show how well treatments are working. They can also help your health care provider check for a wide range of issues and health conditions, including infections, abnormal blood counts, or disorders like diabetes. Some important routine blood tests include:
- Blood sugar (diabetes risk)
- Blood lipid levels (cholesterol)
- Thyroid function
- Complete blood count (CBC)
Stay up to date on vaccines
Getting vaccinated is one of the safest ways to protect your health. Vaccines can keep you from getting really sick from diseases. When you are up to date on vaccines, you also are less likely to miss work or be unable to care for yourself or your family. It is important to stay up to date on all your vaccinations (some are recommended for specific ages/populations). This includes seasonal vaccines.
Here are a few important vaccines to consider:
- Flu vaccine
- Updated COVID-19 vaccine
- Shingles vaccine: important for people ages 50 to 64
- HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine: recommended for everyone through age 26 years if not adequately vaccinated when younger. Some adults ages 27 through 45 years might decide to get the HPV vaccine based on discussion with their health care provider.
- RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) vaccine: important for pregnant women, and people age 60 and older
- Other routine adult vaccinations (e.g., tetanus, pneumonia)
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your bones to get very weak and break easily. The disease can cause severe pain and disability which can affect how you live and get through tasks daily. Osteoporosis is more common in women than men, and it affects 1 in 4 women over age 65 in the U.S. .
There are several risk factors that can lead to the disease. There is no cure for osteoporosis, but it can be slowed down. At your next well visit, ask your doctor if you should get tested for the disease. One option for screening is a DXA scan, which is an X-ray of your bones. You can also get an ultrasound to test your heel.
Screening tests are done to find possible health problems or diseases in people who don't have any symptoms of disease. They can help find potential problems early enough to lower the risk for the disease and to treat them before they have the chance to get worse. Some common screening tests include:
Other preventive measures
Pregnancy: Are you pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant? Preconception care is important to give you and your baby a healthy start. Learn how to make healthier choices for all stages of pregnancy and after your baby arrives.
Fitness: It is important for women of all ages to prioritize their health by doing routine physical activity. Physical activity supports physical and mental well-being and is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Fitting physical activity into your daily life can be difficult, but starting a regular exercise routine, such as walking, will help prevent serious diseases and premature death. Speak with your health care provider about how physical activity can help meet your personal health needs and goals.
Other healthy tips include:
- Eating a heart healthy diet
- Reducing stress
- Getting regular dental checkups
- Limiting alcohol intake
- Improving/getting quality sleep
- Increasing social connection with others
Additionally, tobacco is harmful and addictive. If you smoke or vape, your health care provider may be able help you quit. Talk with your health care provider for more information.
Preventive health measures are important for women of all ages. They can help you stay well, detect health issues early, and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. This new year, prioritize your health and know your health needs. Doing so can help you stay healthier, longer.
- Osteoporosis Factsheet
- 5 Healthy Aging Tips for Women
- Vaccine Facts: Why You and Your Family Need Vaccines (PDF, 8.18 KB)
- Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests (CDC)
- Are You Up to Date on Your Preventive Care? (CDC)
- Pap and HPV tests (Office on Women's Health (HHS))
- SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Physical Activity and Your Heart - Getting Started and Staying Active (NHLBI, NIH)