Schedule Your Annual Well-Woman Visit

Doctor talking to woman patient, while taking notes.Does taking care of yourself fall to the bottom of your to-do list? With so many competing priorities, it's not always easy to put your health first. But taking just one day to focus on you and your health could add years to your life.

That's why I'm encouraging all women to schedule their annual well-woman visit in time for National Women's Checkup Day on May 12.

What's a well-woman visit? It's a checkup. It's a time to see your health care provider to:

  • Discuss your health habits, family history, family planning, and more.
  • Get or schedule necessary screenings and exams.
  • Set health goals, such as weight loss and exercise.

I use this time to voice any worries or questions I've had about my health. To get the most out of your visit, bring a written list of all your health concerns. That way you won't forget anything.

Getting your annual well-woman visit is an important step toward taking charge of your health. But the best part? For most of us, it's free! Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it's covered by most health plans at no cost to you. And if your health care provider says you need more than one well-woman visit in a year, the additional visits are also covered.

The good news doesn't stop there — during your well-woman visit, you can receive many screenings free of charge, including screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, colorectal cancer, and osteoporosis. Screenings can find diseases early, when they are easier to treat. They can also identify other problems and help lower your risk for conditions like heart disease.

To stay healthy in the long run, I make sure I have my annual well-woman visit, and I hope you will, too! It's our chance to focus on our health and get answers to important questions. Whether you need help quitting smoking, want to know how to improve your diet, have questions about reducing stress in your life, or are in good health and want to stay that way, your health care provider can help you get the answers you need and put together a plan to meet your goals.

I hope you'll join me and other women across the country by taking advantage of this benefit. Pledge to schedule your well-woman visit today! Then encourage other women in your life to schedule their visits, too.

If you're interested in taking additional steps for better health, visit the National Women's Health Week website for tips on being as healthy as you can be. Plus, learn how you can spread the word about the importance of taking control of your health to your friends, family, and coworkers.