Women's Health Targeted

The Early Show, Dr. Emily Senay, medical correspondent
CBS/The Early Show
Health providers across the country are making all kinds of services available to women Monday to mark National Women's Checkup Day.

It's intended "to get women to take advantage of the kinds of preventive services that do not take a lot of time or money, but are essential when it comes to avoiding health problems that get worse if they are not detected and dealt with early on," reports Dr. Emily Senay, medical correspondent for The Early Show.

Some 600 hospitals and clinics in the U.S. are offering a wide range of services to women, from basic checkups and blood-pressure testing to updated immunizations and counseling on a wide variety of health issues. The services are provided for free or at a discount in most cases. Insurance policies may also cover some of the costs.

To find out what's available in your area, you can check the Web site at www.4woman.gov or you call 800-994-woman.

If you don't find a provider in your area that is offering the service you need, Senay advises, call your doctor for an appointment instead.

She says it's important to get checked regularly for the early signs of the serious diseases that kill hundreds of thousands of women every year. These include a cholesterol test can reveal a risk of heart disease, a blood sugar test can reveal diabetes, and of course a screening test like mammogram or a colonoscopy can detect early signs of cancer.

Depending on age and other risk factors, women should have other tests and screenings for other such conditions. osteoporosis, thyroid disease and sexually-transmitted diseases.

It is important, Dr. Senay says, for women to be aware of factors that may increase their chances of certain diseases. These factors include age, sex, family history of disease, environmental factors, having a pre-existing disease, and ethnic background.

And, of course, she says, your doctor is the person to ask about individual health issues.