National Women's Health Week is winding down and if you haven't taken action to improve your health there's a free opportunity on Friday.
Data shows 19 percent of women in Nebraska have not had a routine checkup in the last two years. Women in Iowa are doing a little better getting to the doctor with 14 percent skipping out on their regular checkups.
Health care professionals say insurance is one of the biggest factors keeping women from going to the doctor. Open enrollment for the health care marketplace is closed until this fall. “But there are a lot of people that are eligible to enroll outside of that period,” says OneWorld Community Health Center outreach and enrollment manager Emily Sutton. “If you've recently moved, lost a job, your income has changed, there's a possibility you could be eligible for Medicaid, especially if you're a female, pregnant woman or you have children. There's a lot of options."
While prevention is really the best medicine, it's not the entirety of this health conversation. “We're not just looking at the health disparities that women are facing, we're also looking at social issues they experience,” says Sutton. “We know there's a high level of domestic violence and abuse and so we really just want to be able to address many of the different issues women are facing."
We saw the realities of domestic violence this week when a Millard teenager opened up to WOWT 6 News about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her boyfriend. Stories like that are far more common than most of us care to admit. When privately surveyed, more than one-third of American women admitted to some level of abuse or stalking by an intimate partner.
If you'd like resources on where to turn for help or how to help friends get out of a bad situation, OneWorld Community Health Center at South 30th and L streets in Omaha is hosting a health fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. Get medical questions answered, have a car seat safety check, see food demonstrations, get a Zumba workout and have your blood pressure and body mass index checked. BMI is very important as almost two-thirds of American women are either overweight or obese and both can lead to a number of other health complications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says when women were asked about their health over the course of a month, on average they felt physically sick 4.2 days and mentally unhealthy 4.5 days of the month.
Did you know 27.5 percent of women have high blood pressure? That figure climbs to 74.4 percent for women over the age of 65. If it goes undetected or untreated, the health problems can multiply. One of the ways OneWorld is working to identify those who might need treatment but won't seek it is through the Promotoras program.
It's common in Latino culture to train individuals who don't necessarily have a health background help educate and even screen their neighbors. “One of our current trainees we're about to graduate, she's doing blood glucose screenings around the community and found a woman whose blood glucose was really, really high, over 500,” says OneWorld’s Stephanie Thorson. “Person was overweight and wasn't in connection with a doctor."