“Women’s Health” is a subject very close to my heart, and not just because of the health condition risks I live with. The word “Risk” is scary enough without having to wait until we actually fall sick or develop sickness.
Monitoring our health by getting the right health screenings at the appropriate time, living a healthy lifestyle, staying active, being stress free, eating healthy – can increase our chances of staying healthy – or at the very least, warn us of any impending health issues so we can take action on time.
So, my sisters, make note of the seven important health tests for women – my doctor personally recommends these annually. And men who are reading this, tell the women you know!
7 health tests for women
1. Blood Pressure
Get your blood pressure checked at least once in two years right from when you are about 18 years old. Your normal pressure should read 120/80 mmHg.
Regular checks for cholesterol levels reduces your risk for heart disease. Do it at least once in five years.This is a simple blood test. Just check with your doctor to find out you should fast before the test. If your cholesterol level is over 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) your doctor will tell you what to do. In most cases, borderline cholesterol levels can be controlled with walking and exercise.
3. Pap smears
Starting from when you turn 21 years, especially if you are sexually active, make sure you get a complete pelvic exam and pap smear done at least once in two years. This will help track any problems with the reproductive system and sexually transmitted diseases. If you are 30 or older, you need a Pap smear only once in three years provided you have no other health problems and have had three consecutive normal tests.
4. Mammograms and breast exams
From the time you are 20 until you are 40, women must have a clinical breast exam once in three years. After 40, it is once a year. Your doctor will physically examine your breasts for any abnormalities and lumps. A mammogram is advised at least once in two years after you turn 40 to screen for breast cancer. (Read what to expect in a mammogram)
5. Screening for bone density
Osteoporosis is a scary risk to live with and most women suffer from this to some extent. Getting screened for osteoporosis at least from age 65 is a must. If you are thin or have suffered fractures, get screened sooner. (More information about osteoporosis)
6. Blood glucose check
From the time you turn 45, get your blood glucose checked at least once in three years to monitor for diabetes or pre-diabetes. If you are at risk for diabetes or see symptoms earlier, then you are probably already getting your blood sugar levels checked regularly.
7. Complete dental check up
We know that good dental health is critical practically from the moment we develop our first tooth. Get a dental check at least once a year, if not twice a year. Get your teeth cleaned regularly. This will prevent tooth decay from progressing, besides helping diagnose other health issues. Read more about oral health
Besides these, also screen for colon cancer from age 50, check body mass index to stay within your healthy weight and a skin examination from age 18 to check for changes in the skin.
You know what they say. Prevention is better than cure. And in these days of expensive medical care, even if you have health insurance, there are so many criteria to meet to qualify for a medical claim. Personally, I think that the expense apart, the experience of going through medical procedures and treatment is not only exhausting, but awfully stressful.
So take care, my ladies. Do what you can to stay healthy. If you notice something unusual in your health, consult your doctor right away.Waiting only escalates the problem. And don’t forget a healthy diet and exercise.
Further reading: Easy health-check: tests you can do on your own