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Questions to Ask

Take control of your health by asking the right questions, learning more about conditions, and finding an advocate.

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General Screenings

Annual Well-Woman Visit

Schedule a well-woman visit with your doctor every year for to document health habits and history, receive a physical exam, and set health goals.

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Blood Pressure Checks

High blood pressure increases your risk for serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. All adults age 18 and older should have their blood pressure checked regularly.

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Bone Density Testing

A bone density test measures how strong bones are, and will tell you if you have osteoporosis, or weak bones. You should have a bone density test if you are a woman over the age of 65 or at high risk of developing osteoporosis.

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Breast Cancer Screenings

Breast cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer in women. Women ages 40-49 should speak with their doctors about when to start getting mammograms and how often, and women ages 50-74 should receive a mammogram at least every two years.

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Cervical Cancer Screenings

Getting screened for cervical cancer means getting tested before you have any symptoms. Women ages 21-29 should receive a Pap test every three years. Women ages 30-65 can receive a Pap test every three years, receive an HPV test every 5 years, or receive both tests every five years.

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Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Testing

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are sexually transmitted diseases, and getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you have an STD. Women 24 years old and younger who are having sex should be tested once per year, and those who are 25 or older should be tested if they have more than one sex partner, a new sex partner, or a sex partner with an STD.

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Cholesterol Checks

It’s important to have your cholesterol checked regularly, as too much cholesterol in your blood can cause heart attack or stroke. The general recommendation is to get your cholesterol checked every four to six years, but some people may need to be checked more or less often, depending on their risk for developing heart disease.

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Colorectal Cancer Screenings

All adults ages 50-75 should receive regular colorectal cancer screenings to help prevent colorectal cancer of find it early. You may need to be tested earlier if colorectal cancer runs in your family.

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Diabetes Prevention

Diabetes is a leading cause of disability and death in the United States, and increases the risk of other serious health problems. You can do a lot to prevent type 2 diabetes by watching your weight, staying healthy, and staying active.

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Genetic Testing for Breast & Ovarian Cancer

If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, talk with your doctor or nurse about it. You may be at a higher risk of developing these and other types of cancer.

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Hepatitis C Testing

Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease, and the most common way of contracting hepatitis C is by coming in contact with the blood of someone who has it. If you were born between 1945 and 1965; received an organ transplant or blood transfusion before 1992; have ever injected drugs; or have chronic liver disease, HIV, or AIDS, talk to your doctor about getting tested.

CDC Resource Hepatitis C Questions for Your Doctor
HIV Testing

The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested, and you can have HIV and still feel healthy. Everyone ages 15-65 needs to get tested for HIV at least once, and how often you get tested depends on your risk of infection.

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Lung Cancer Screenings

Most people who develop lung cancer get it from smoking, and the best way to lower your risk if you are a smoker is to quit using tobacco. Ask your doctor about getting screened for lung cancer if all of the following apply to you: you are ages 55-80, you have a history of heavy smoking, and you smoke now or quit smoking within the last 15 years.

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Skin Cancer Screenings

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from the sun and other sources of UV rays. You are at higher risk of developing skin cancer if you have fair skin with freckles, blond or red hair, or blue or green eyes. Talk to your doctor if you are at a higher risk of skin cancer or have unusual looking or a large amount of moles.

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Discussions to Have With Your Doctor

Alcohol Use

If you choose to drink alcohol, it’s important to drink in moderation. Those who are pregnant or with certain health conditions should not drink at all. Talk to your doctor about your alcohol consumption to ensure that you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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Choosing the Right Birth Control

Birth control, or contraception, can help you prevent pregnancy when you don’t want to have a baby, and there isn’t one method of birth control that’s right for everybody.

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Depression is an illness that involves the brain and can affect your thoughts, mood, and daily activities. If you think you are depressed, talk with a doctor about how you are feeling.

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Fall Prevention

Falling can lead to broken bones, trouble getting around, and other problems – especially if you are over the age of 65. Talk with your doctor about falls and how to prevent them, in addition to doing exercises to improve your balance, reviewing prescriptions, and getting your vision checked.

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Folic Acid Consumption

Women who are able to get pregnant or planning to get pregnant need 400mcg of folic acid every day, as it can prevent birth defects and is needed within the first few weeks of pregnancy.

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Taking Aspirin Daily

Taking low-dose aspirin (or baby aspirin) regularly can lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, and colorectal cancer. Ask your doctor about taking aspirin regularly if you are ages 50-59 and are at risk for heart disease.

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Healthy Habits

Avoiding Violent Relationships

It can be hard to know if your relationship is headed down the wrong path. While it’s not always easy to spot the warning signs of relationship violence, there are things you can do to recognize unhealthy relationships and get health before they become violent.

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Healthy Eating

Eating healthy means following a healthy eating pattern that includes a variety of nutritious foods and drinks. It also means getting the number of calories that’s right for you (not eating too much or too little).

CDC Resource HealthFinder Resource Weight Loss Questions for Your Doctor
Tobacco Cessation

Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health, and the sooner you quit, the sooner your body can start to heal.

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Watching Your Weight

To stay at a healthy weight, balance the calories you eat and drink with the calories you burn. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume.

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Screenings & Information for Pregnant Women

Have a Healthy Pregnancy

Healthy care during pregnancy, or prenatal care, can help you have a healthier baby. It also lowers the risk of your baby being born too early, which can lead to health problems for your baby.

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HIV Testing

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that all pregnant women be tested for HIV to prevent prenatal transmission of the disease.

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Syphilis Testing

According to the US Preventive Services Task Force, all pregnant women should undergo early screening for syphilis. If left untreated, syphilis may be transmitted to the fetus, resulting in stillbirth, neonatal death, or significant birth defects.

Syphilis Screening Questions for Your Doctor
Newborn Screening

Talk to your doctor or midwife about newborn screening before your baby is born. Newborn screening includes tests that check for certain diseases and conditions in newborn babies.

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Breastfeed Your Baby

Breastfeeding is very healthy for both mothers and babies, and breast milk is the only food or liquid a baby needs for the first six months after birth.

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