Taking proper care of our health should be among our top priorities. Nothing else will matter if you’re not feeling well enough to experience it, so here is a list of a few key preventive care screenings that every woman should know about and undergo to preserve her health.
Blood pressure screening
Getting screened for blood pressure is very important seeing as how in the long term, it can lead to health issues like heart disease. The ideal blood pressure is 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). In case yours is below or above it, you should get checked out once every two years. However, after the age of 40, it’s recommended to have it done on a yearly basis. Furthermore, conditions such as obesity can increase the risk of hypertension.
Blood glucose tests
Women should also be getting a blood glucose test once every three years once they turn 45. This will help determine if they have diabetes or prediabetes. While normal results can vary, a reading of 100 mg/dl and higher indicates prediabetes, and over 126 mg/dl indicates diabetes. You should start getting tested earlier and more often in case you are in a group with a higher risk, like those with obesity, a family history of diabetes, or a particular race or ethnicity. Consult with your doctor.
Once you turn 20, you should get used to having your cholesterol measured every five years, at least. By doing this, your doctor should be able to assess the risk of stroke and heart disease. Ideal levels are below 200 mg/dl while up to 239 is borderline high. If you are at risk of any of these conditions, you will probably be advised to check it more frequently.
Bone density screening
Osteoporosis affects women more than men, which means that you should not overlook bone density screening. To do this test, the DEXA scan, you need to lie on a table as a low-dose X-ray machine scans your bones. By doing this starting at the age of 65, you will notice low body weight and bone fractures sooner.
While you probably do everything in your power to take proper care of your teeth, it’s still essential to go to your dentist at least twice a year to do a checkup and make sure everything is in order. During these, you can also clean your teeth in addition to examinations and X-rays that help you spot decay and other problems early on.
Adults that have no symptoms or issues with their vision should still have an eye exam once they turn 40, seeing as how eye diseases and vision changes are most likely to appear in this period. Your eye doctor will tell you how often you need to go in for exams after they see the results. If you already wear glasses or contacts, you should have them more frequently as well as if there is a family history of disease or loss of vision, you take some meds that have eye side effects, or you have a chronic disease such as diabetes.
If you’ve never had a mammogram, you should know that your breasts will be compressed between two plates so that an X-ray machine can capture an image that your doctor can analyze. Mammograms are important as they help catch breast cancer on time as well as some other conditions such as fibrocystic breast disease. The risk of breast cancer gets higher with age so you should start when you reach 50 and do it every two years. If you have concerns, schedule one earlier.
You should also have a Pap smear once every three years, from the ages of 21 to 65. This test takes cells from the cervix and examines them for cervical cancer. By combining it with a screen for HPV, you can do it every five years.
Colon cancer screening
Colon cancer is another type of cancer that can affect you, so you should start getting screenings at the age of 50. It’s done either through colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. A colonoscopy inspects the entire color and is repeated every 10 years, while sigmoidoscopy is done every five years and only examines the lower colon.
Something you should do every year at home is inspect your skin. Take note of new moles and changes to existing ones. Talk to your doctor if something alarms you, especially if you have a family history of skin cancer or are at increased risk.
These ten screenings are some of the basics every woman should undergo. Your doctor might recommend further exams if necessary.
Eve Anderson is a marketing specialist turned blogger. Interested in sports and exciting travel destinations. Love to share content that can inform people.