Staying healthy is not really the most difficult thing you can do, but it surely requires some effort and diligence. A very crucial part of that effort is taking part in regular and necessary medical tests. Frequent screening tests help to detect potential medical issues while they are still curable. The early detection of health problems makes the chances for treatment better. As a woman, you need to go through certain health tests and screenings in order to take optimum care of yourself. The tests which a woman needs to go through evolve as she ages. So, let us take a look at what these tests are and why they are so important for a healthy mind and body.
Essential Health Tests for Women
Every woman should take out some time in their lives for healthy habits like exercise, stress management and a healthy diet. However, along with all these, scheduling routine health exams and screenings are equally important. Regular screening could even save your life by helping detect serious medical conditions before they worsen. So, here are the regular medical checks which are required to keep track of a woman’s health, depending on her age:
- Tests you require in your 20s and 30s
There are certain tests which are highly required in your 20s and 30s. These are:
You should have regular physical exams during your 20s. At such exams, your doctor will inquire about height, weight, body mass index, etc.
Pelvic exam and Pap smear
Regardless of sexual activity or inactivity, women aged 21 and older should get a Pap smear exam every three years. This test looks out for the signs of cervical cancer.
Screening of breast cancer involves clinical exams and screening mammograms. Your doctor may also suggest BRCA genes testing as certain types of breast cancer are linked to genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Women aged 20 and older need to get a baseline screening for cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This showcases the risk of coronary heart diseases.
Blood pressure screening
A diagnosis of hypertension is done if your blood pressure is greater than 140/90. It should be checked upon every two years if your blood pressure is 120/80 or under. If it is higher, it needs to be checked more frequently.
Eye and dental exam
You need to go for vision screenings every other year if you regularly wear glasses or contact lenses. And even if you do not, you should always get it checked every now and then. You should also visit a dentist every year or once every six months to get your teeth checked.
- Tests you require in your 40s, 50s and 60s
The tests which you started in your 20s will still be continued, only the frequency will change and there will be several new tests which start in your 40s. These are:
An eye exam is needed every two years, even for those who do not wear glasses, a physical exam every one to five years, and one breast screening every year.
All women should get mammography done to screen for potential breast cancer. Women younger than 50 years of age should discuss with their doctor to determine how often they should have a mammogram done.
Colon cancer screening
Once you turn 50 years of age, you should start taking colon cancer screenings. Possible tests of colon cancer include stool test, colonoscopy every 10 years, computed tomographic colonoscopy every five years, flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years and double contrast barium enema every five years. Your doctor will advise which are the tests you need and how often.
You need to check for skin cancer every year by a medical professional. This will help you catch it early and get appropriate treatment.
You need to be screened for pre-diabetes and diabetes every three years beginning in your 40s. Also, if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, your doctor will suggest you to test for type 2 diabetes.
Ultrasound scan of abdomen and pelvis
Investigations to screen heart health such as ECG , Echo cardiography and TMT
- Tests you require after the age of 65:
The frequency & necessity of medical tests continue to evolve as you grow older. The tests include:
Blood pressure & cholesterol
As you age, blood pressure tests should be done yearly and cholesterol levels should be checked every three to five years.
Bone density test
Women aged 65 years and older need to be screened for osteoporosis. If you have ever undergone a fracture, you need to test bone density just after menopause.
An audiogram should be done once every year to check your hearing at various pitches and intensity levels.
This is a set of two vaccines, received a year apart. It is advised that people over 65 years of age get vaccinated against pneumonia.
Do Healthy Women need full-body checks?
Well, as contradicting it may sound, anyone, however healthy they may be, need regular health checks. Medical experts suggest for a full-body screening for everyone, no matter how young, old or fit they may be. In healthy women, the approach is more selective towards preventing diseases .
Advantages of Regular Health Checks
Health screenings are nothing but routine visits to the medical professionals in order to find out what’s going on in your body. But these routine visits can be of utmost importance and help in maintaining your health. The benefits include:
- Early detection of disease: Regular health checks help doctors to detect a disease early before it advances to serious proportions. These tests are done on the basis of sex, age, personal & family health history and lifestyle choices. These medical checks help to identify the disease at the onset, making it easier and more likely to be cured.
- Health evaluation: During regular health screenings, doctors definitely ask you to do a blood test. These tests are done to eliminate the risk of any disease which can show up in your blood. These include many disorders like high cholesterol, thyroid disorders , anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, and coronary artery diseases. Blood tests will help in the proper evaluation of functioning of different body organs like liver, kidneys, heart and thyroid.
- Identify stress-related diseases: The hectic work schedules and fast-moving lifestyles of today spark off a variety of stress-related diseases in the human body. These include hypertension, weight gain, depression, mental disorders, asthma; Alzheimer’s and even gastrointestinal issues. Regular health screening makes it easier to identify and treat these issues before they turn too severe.
- Keeps you abreast about your health: Your test results will inform your doctor all they require to know about your health. Depending upon your results, your doctor will help you to maintain your health better and assess the risk of future medical problems. He/she will update you regarding all new medical information and technologies, keep you up to date with your vaccinations and prompt you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Lower healthcare costs: Though, you might think that cutting down on routine health check-ups is going to save you money in the short run, that is not always true. These regular health checks shall help you save money in the long run. This is because medical checks eliminate the risk of potential health problems which could turn life-threatening.
So, in a nutshell, in order to maintain good health and identify potential health problems at the earliest stages, it is very important for both men and women to have regular health checks. Make these routine health checks a part of your regular activities and you shall live a long and healthy life