Post date: April 16, 2018

Women’s Health – Stay Informed and be in Control!


National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 13, and is celebrated through May 19, 2018. Led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the goal is to empower women to make their health a priority. HPSJ joins in throughout the year – and with a special spotlight for this week – to focus attention on ways to help all women take steps to improve their health.

“As we women nurture of our families, it is important that we take care of ourselves first. Just as directed at the start of airline flights: ‘Take care of yourself before caring for your child or others.’ Annual screenings and regular wellness exams are the way to do that. HPSJ is committed to making sure all of our members take care of themselves to prevent diseases and illness,” – HPSJ’s HEDIS & Accreditation Manager Tamara Foster

Women’s health includes all things that help you live a healthy lifestyle at all ages. Your doctor or nurse can help you stay healthy, and live a healthy lifestyle. Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need to be seen for a routine checkup. Bring up any health questions or concerns at your next checkup visit

Following are some annual screenings and regular wellness tests for women that HPSJ recommends to our members. Some of these will also keep your loved ones healthy.

Tests Who needs to be tested What the Test Does for You Key Points
Mammogram Women Checks for breast cancer. Start getting mammograms at age 50. If you have a family history of breast cancer or feel a lump, you may need to start before age 50.
Chlamydia Women A vagina infection exam. Get tested if you are sexually active or if you are pregnant.
Pap Smear Women Tests for cervical cancer. Start getting tested at age 21 or sooner. Talk to your doctor or OB/GYN about how often you need a Pap test.
Blood Pressure Women


Examines the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels. Have your blood pressure checked at each doctor’s visit. High blood pressure can lead to heart and kidney disease.
Cholesterol Women


This checks for fat in the blood. Ask your primary doctor if you need to have your cholesterol checked.
Body Mass Index (BMI) Women



A BMI tells you if overall weight is healthy for height. Have it tested at least once a year.

Your doctor or nurse will personalize the timing of the annual screening exams you need based on many factors. Ask them if you do not understand why a certain exam is recommended for you. Check with your health insurance plan to find out which exams are covered.

Here are some other steps you can take for good health:

  • Eat healthy – Go to to get started
  • Stay physically active – Get at least 30 minutes daily
  • Sleep – Get at least 7 to 8 hours daily
  • Have a healthy weight – Reach it, maintain it
  • No Smoking – Get help to quit; better not to start
  • Alcohol – Limit to one drink or less
  • Drugs –Do not use illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs
  • Live by the old saying: An ounce of Protection is better than a pound of cure – Wear a helmet when riding a bike and wear protective gear for sports
  • Drive Safely – Wear a seat belt; do not text and drive
  • Take Folic Acid – Take 400 to 800 mcg daily[i]

Challenge yourself, and encourage all the women in your life, to complete recommended annual screening exams. Remind other women about the importance of regular wellness exams. Health is a priority. It is vital that women stay informed. This is one of the ways women can be in control of their bodies, health and fitness.

To learn more about the women’s health services provided by Health Plan of San Joaquin, please visit:

For more information about National Women’s Health Week (May 13-19, 2018), please visit the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at:

[i] National Women’s Health Week 2018, Accessed April 5, 2017.

© Health Plan of San Joaquin – used with permission of HPSJ, April 2018 – Updated from an earlier article. To access the HPSJ Health Articles Library, click here.