MDCH Recognizes May 15 As National Women's Check-Up Day

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

May 12, 2006

May 15 marks National Women’s Check-Up Day, a nationwide effort to encourage women to visit health care professionals to receive regular, preventive check-ups and screenings for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and other conditions.

“Educating yourself on your family’s health history is a smart step towards prevention,” said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. “By understanding your family’s comprehensive health history, individuals can deter dozens of preventable health conditions.”

Family health history is any information pertaining to general health conditions and diseases in grandparents, parents, siblings, children, and more distant relatives. It reflects all the factors that influence health and are often shared by family members, such as lifestyles, behaviors, ethnicity, traditions, cultures, religions, social supports, and environments as well as genes.

“The best genetic test available today is your family health history,” says Julie Zenger Hain, Medical Geneticist at Oakwood Healthcare System in Dearborn and Co-Chair of the Michigan Cancer Genetics Alliance. “Family health history is also important for those who are adopted since the history reflects shared behaviors and environments.”

When investigating the health history of your family, the following are important to note:

  • Major medical conditions and causes of death
  • Age family member developed the disease and age at time of death
  • For those with chronic disease, not their lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol use, lack of physical activity, and/or poor diet
  • Birth defects and/or learning disabilities

The information gathered should be passed on to health care providers who will use the information to recommend lifestyle changes such as moving more, eating healthier, and smoking cessation. Your physician may also recommend cholesterol and blood pressure tests, a mammogram, colonoscopy, or other preventive procedures.

National Women’s Check-Up Day is coordinated by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and supported by the Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan Cancer Genetics Alliance, and the Michigan Association of Genetics Counselors.