Wellness and Healthy Living
The Women Veterans Health Program is dedicated to women Veterans living healthy and staying well during every stage of their lives.
We want to engage women Veterans as partners in managing their health. This involves partnerships with national VA groups already working on patient education such as National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and MyHealtheVet and others.
Basic Health Advice for Women
- Eat a low fat diet
- Exercise regularly (for 30 minutes, at least five days a week)
- Get adequate sleep (seven or eight hours a night for most people)
- Manage and reduce stress
- Report any breast changes or abnormalities that you discover to your provider
- Avoid heavy drinking (more than one drink a day)
- Avoid too much sun and use sunscreen when exposed to sunlight
- Maintain healthy weight
Women’s Health Checklist
You can find more specific information on healthy living, including online tools at MyHealtheVet.
Get medical exams regularly.
Discuss your medical history with your doctor to develop a personalized exam schedule. Below are common screening tests to include in that discussion. Screening tests are important for identifying problems early, when you have the best chance of treating problems successfully.
Reduce risks of heart disease.
- Clinical Breast Exam
- GYN Exam
- Pap Smear
- Blood Pressure Check
- Cholesterol Screening
- Colorectal Screening
- Physical Check-Ups
- HIV Test
More women Veterans die of heart disease than any other single cause.
Discuss menopause concerns and treatment with your primary care provider.
- Report any pain or discomfort in the chest, left arm, shoulder, neck, or back
- Do aerobic exercise (such as walking, dancing, bicycling, swimming, rolling in your wheelchair) for 30 minutes, five or more days a week (make sure your provider approves any exercise regimen)
- Maintain/watch your weight
- If you smoke, QUIT
- Control your blood pressure
- Eat a low-fat diet
- If diabetic, control blood sugar
- See your doctor regularly for blood pressure monitoring, cholesterol and other blood tests as recommended, and routine checkups
Symptoms can include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Emotional changes
- Change in interest in sexual activities
Prevent osteoporosis (brittle bones) as you age.
Know your risk factors and the symptoms and take steps to keep your bones strong.
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
- Eat a diet rich in calcium
- Ensure adequate calcium and vitamin D intake
- Do weight-bearing exercises for 30 minutes, five or more days a week (walking, dancing, weight training and most sports, except swimming and bicycling)
- Family history
- Thin/petite build
- Caucasian/Asian descent
- Certain medications (steroids, excessive thyroid hormone)
- Too much caffeine/alcohol
- Decreased estrogen levels
- Lack of physical exercise
- Inadequate calcium & vitamin D
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
- Loss of height over the years
- Certain types of back pain
- Curved upper back
- Breaking a bone in hip, wrist, or spine from minimal trauma