Women who want to live longer and healthier should observe healthy habits such as having a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, and manage stress. They should also get routine medical screenings and health tests as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Regular screening saves people’s lives. Through these tests, healthcare service providers are able to detect diseases early, some of which are potentially fatal. Early detection can lead to prompt treatments and prevent complications. The following are the medical exams every woman should have:
Breast Exams and Mammograms
Women should manually examine their breasts for any sign of lumps or other changes. Women age 45 years and older are urged to get mammograms every year. Doctors use mammograms to check for breast cancer in women who do not show signs or symptoms of the disease. With regular mammograms, doctors can detect breast cancer up to three years before its symptoms are felt.
Cervical Cancer Screening
Health experts recommend women between 21 and 65 years old to get screening for cervical cancer every three years. Doctors use a vaginal speculum during a pap smear to find changes in the cells of the cervix that may lead to cancer. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cervical cancer can be prevented with a regular pap smear and HPV tests.
Bone Density Screening
Women are at increased risk of having osteoporosis, so it is recommended that they start getting screened for this disease with a bone density test by the time they reach 65 years old. Women with risk factors such as those with low body weight and fractures need to be screened earlier.
A blood glucose test every three years should be done by women starting at 45 years old. The test could help detect if they have diabetes or prediabetes. Obese women, those with a family history of diabetes, and those who belong to ethnicity at increased risk of having the condition should consider getting tested earlier and more often. Blood tests are also commonly used to detect hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Women are 10 times more likely to have this condition than men.
The American Cancer Society urges women to have their skin examined every month at home. The body needs to be inspected for any new moles or changes in existing moles, as this could be signs of skin cancer. Individuals at higher risk of skin cancer or have a family history of the condition are urged to consult with a dermatologist about how they could have an in-office exam.
An effective way to track risks of heart disease is to monitor cholesterol levels through a set of blood tests known as lipid profile. High cholesterol levels place women (and men) at increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Lipid profile serves as an initial screening tool for abnormalities in lipids such as triglycerides and cholesterol.
Getting regular medical tests is crucial to women’s health. Make sure to consult a doctor to find out more about these exams and how they can help protect and improve your health.