Preventive Care for Women

Getting recommended gynecologic screenings — from young adulthood to the retirement years — can help prevent illness or catch it during early stages when it may be easier to treat. Use our timeline below as a guide, but always talk to your doctor about health concerns.

A Timeline for Every Stage

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination is recommended for all girls (and boys) for protection from types of HPV that can
11-12 yrs
20 yrs
Start annual visits with your gynecologist. Your doctor will also perform a breast exam every one to three years.
Get a Pap test every three years. This allows your gynecologist to look for changes in your cervix that may require treatment.
21-29 yrs
30 yrs
HPV testing may be included with your Pap tests. If you have normal results, you only need to have a Pap test every five years.
Start getting mammograms every year. This screening looks for signs of breast cancer at an early, treatable stage. An annual breast exam by your gynecologist is also recommended.
40 yrs
45-50 yrs
Colon cancer screening (for example, with a colonoscopy) can detect cancer at an early stage, when it is easier to treat. It is recommended that women start screening at age 50, and African American women earlier, at 4
A bone mineral density scan checks for osteoporosis. Also, talk to your doctor about whether you need to continue having Pap tests.
65 yrs
75 yrs
Speak with your doctor about whether you still need to have mammograms and colon cancer screening. For some women, it might make sense to stop these tests.
If you are sexually active, talk to your doctor about screening for sexually transmitted diseases, family planning and birth control options.
If you might become pregnant, taking a folic acid supplement or prenatal vitamin with 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid or folate will help protect against birth defects
Talk to your doctor about your mental and emotional health. Hormone changes associated with the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, postpartum period and perimenopause can affect your mood.
Eat a healthy diet, exercise and maintain a healthy weight. This reduces your risk of many health problems including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Food and Nutrition Wellness and Prevention

Weight Management

An eating plan that helps manage your weight includes a variety of healthy foods. Add an array of colors to your plate and think of it as eating the rainbow. Dark, leafy greens, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and minerals.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020external icon, a healthy eating plan:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
  • Stays within your daily calorie needs


Try fruits beyond apples and bananas such as mango, pineapple or kiwi fruit.

Comfort Foods

Healthy eating is all about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods, even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while and balancing them with healthier foods and more physical activity.

Some general tips for comfort foods:

  • Eat them less often. If you normally eat these foods every day, cut back to once a week or once a month.
  • Eat smaller amounts. If your favorite higher-calorie food is a chocolate bar, have a smaller size or only half a bar.
  • Try a lower-calorie version. Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare food differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe includes whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try remaking it with non-fat milk, less butter, low-fat cheese, fresh spinach and tomatoes. Just remember to not increase your portion size.

Diabetes Meal Planning

A meal plan is your guide for when, what, and how much to eat to get the nutrition you need while keeping your blood sugar levels in your target range.

Counting Carbs

Keeping track of how many carbs you eat and setting a limit for each meal can help keep your blood sugar levels in your target range.

Another way to manage the carbs you eat is using the glycemic indexexternal icon (GI). The GI ranks carbs in food from 0 to 100 according to how much they affect blood sugar. Low GI foods are more slowly digested and absorbed by your body, so you stay full longer.

They don’t have a big impact on your blood sugar. High GI foods are digested and absorbed more quickly. They have a bigger impact on your blood sugar, and you’ll get hungry sooner. Some examples:

  • High GI: Bread (white and wheat), mashed potatoes, watermelon, fruit juice
  • Low GI: Beans, brown rice, tomatoes, yogurt, apples, milk

The Plate Method

The plate method is a simple, visual way to make sure you get enough non-starchy vegetables and lean protein, and limit the amount of higher-carb food that has the greatest potential to spike your blood sugar.
Start with a 9-inch dinner plate:
  • Fill half with non-starchy vegetables, such as salad, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and carrots.
  • Fill one quarter with a lean protein, such as chicken, turkey, beans, tofu, or eggs.
  • Fill a quarter with a grain or starchy food, such as potatoes, rice, or pasta (or skip the starch altogether and double up on non-starchy veggies).

Prevention of Diabetic foot ulcer

  • Annual checkup with Endocrinologist for signs or symptoms of loss of protective sensation and peripheral artery disease.
  • Avoid walking barefoot, in socks without shoes, or in thin-soled slippers, whether indoors or outdoors
  • Inspect daily the entire surface of both feet and the inside of the shoes
  • Wash the feet daily and dry between the toes
  • Use emollients to lubricate dry skin
  • cut toe nails straight across
  • avoid using chemical agents or plasters or any other technique to remove callus or corns
  • Monitor foot skin temperatures once per day to identify any early signs of foot inflammation
  • wear therapeutic footwear that accommodates the shape of the feet
  • perform foot and mobility-related exercises
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