May 2008 MedBytes: Women's Health

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designates May 11-17 National Women's Health Week. The Web sites listed below provide insights on women's health care and cater to physicians who treat health concerns prevalent in the female patient population.

Texas Health and Human Services Commission
The Texas Women's Health Program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission provides low-income women with gynecological exams, related health screenings, and birth control through Texas Medicaid. On the Web site, www.hhsc.state.tx.us/womenshealth.htm , women can find out if they qualify for services and how to apply for coverage. In addition to birth control and health exams, coverage under the Women's Health Program includes screening for diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, high blood pressure, and breast and cervical cancers. Women will also receive an assessment of health risk factors, counseling, and education on birth control methods. Brochures about the program are available in English and Spanish and can be printed from the Web site.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Women's Health Web site,  www.cdc.gov/women , of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) promotes health, safety, and quality of life. The site's Science and Research section examines hypertension awareness, treatment, and control and looks at life expectancy among different groups. Under Health and Wellness, women can learn more about cervical cancer and the importance of folic acid during pregnancy and can view a podcast on physical activity. The site also features statistical snapshots of the teenage birth rate, life expectancy at birth by race and sex, control of hypertension, and prevalence of high serum total cholesterol by age. The Programs and Partnerships section contains sexually transmitted disease surveillance projections and information on physician counseling to prevent cytomegalovirus infection during pregnancy.

National Institutes of Health
Medline Plus is a service of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. At www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/womenshealth.html , physicians and patients can access information about heart disease, pregnancy, mammograms, menopause, and other health topics. The Web site has links to the latest news on women's health and provides helpful overviews from leading health care organizations. Under Prevention/Screening, you'll find screening and immunization guidelines for women, steps for staying healthy, and facts about Pap smears. The Specific Conditions section of the site features facts about alcohol abuse among women, the environment and women's health, heart disease, and health risks. You can also link to medical journal articles and related health organizations.

National Women's Law Center
The National Women's Law Center, together with Oregon Health and Science University, published the findings of a National Report Card on Women's Health. The groups reviewed 27 health benchmarks designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2010 campaign. All 50 states and Washington, D.C., were graded on their ability to meet measures such as women's access to health care, addressing wellness and prevention, assessing key causes of death and chronic conditions, and economic security and education. Texas received a failing grade in the following benchmark categories: women without health insurance; Pap smears; colorectal cancer and cholesterol screening; obesity prevention; coronary heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer death rates; high blood pressure; diabetes; chlamydia; life expectancy; poverty level; wage gap; and high school completion. You can learn more about the study and view the report card results for Texas and the nation at  hrc.nwlc.org .

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
May 11-17 is National Women's Health Week, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to empower women to get healthy by taking action. At  www.womenshealth.gov/whw , physicians and community health organizations can learn more about taking the opportunity to encourage women to engage in physical activity most days of the week, make healthy food choices, visit a physician to receive regular check-ups and preventive screening, and avoid risky behaviors such as smoking. Also on the Web site, you can find events in Texas, link to information on women's health topics, and download materials for planning activities surrounding National Women's Health Week.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, e-mail Crystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.

 

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