Aside from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, going to doctor’s appointments and taking health screenings are more ways to keep our health in tiptop condition.
While men and women are both expected to undergo certain medical tests sometime in our lives, women may have to take additional tests to ensure the best possible health. Your eligibility for such tests may even be higher if you are at high risk for any health condition.
Be on top of your health by having yourself checked regularly. Educate yourself with these medical tests and screenings that are recommended for women to undergo in their lifetime.
Also known as a Pap smear, a Pap test is a medical procedure to test for cervical cancer. This routine screening test can be taken by women regularly starting at the age of 21, but may be more frequently in women who are HIV-positive or who have a weakened immune system due to chemotherapy or a surgery, such as an organ transplant. It is important to note that women who are in a monogamous relationship are still encouraged to get regular Pap smears, as HPV virus can suddenly become active after being dormant for many years.
A Pap smear is a simple and quick procedure, yet some women may find it uncomfortable. During the test, your doctor will ask you to lie down while she inserts a speculum into your vagina to better access the cervix. Using a clinical spatula, your healthcare provider will then scrape a small sample of cells from the cervix, which will be sent to the lab for testing of any cancerous cells.
Mammograms and Breast Exams
While you can self-check your breasts anytime, a clinical breast exam and a mammogram can better detect breast cancer and prevent it from worsening. A mammogram is done by compressing the breast in between plates to better capture an image through X-ray.
According to the American Cancer Society, women should begin getting mammograms starting at the age of 45 yearly and every other year beginning at age 55. However, women may start breast screenings as early as 40, if they prefer. Meanwhile, your doctor should manually assess and examine your breasts during regular checkups if you are 20 and above.
Bone Density Screening
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about 54 million Americans have low bone mass, putting them at high risk for osteoporosis. What’s more is that an estimate of one in two women is likely to have a bone injury due to osteoporosis. Women are known to lose 30 percent of their bone mass five to seven years after menopause.
This condition is often dubbed as a silent disease, as someone who has it can’t feel their bones weakening. This should encourage women to undergo a bone density test when they reach the age of 65 and every five years thereafter. An osteoporosis screening is performed through a dual-energy X-ray (DXA) test, which is the most accurate bone-density procedure. This test should be safe and non-invasive, as the X-ray machine takes a scan of your spine, wrists, and hips.
Blood Pressure Test
Heart disease is commonly the cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., yet symptoms of this condition may be different in both genders. For instance, women may be experiencing a heart attack without any chest pain, unlike what many men experience. One important way to prevent such condition altogether is getting screened for high blood pressure or hypertension. Once you are diagnosed with hypertension, your healthcare provider may then be able to prescribe proper medications to keep your blood pressure well controlled.
Blood pressure monitoring is one of the routine procedures done during your doctor’s appointment, together with body temperature reading, which can be done through the use of temperature probes, if the situation calls for it. Keeping your vital signs in check significantly detects any health problems before they occur.
About 15 million people in the U.S. experience depression every year, and majority of them turn out to be women. It is essential for all adults to keep tabs on their mental health, especially women, who can fall easily into postpartum depression once they’ve given birth. A depression screening simply is a conversation with a medical professional about your mental health. While depression is often viewed as a subjective condition, it tops the list of the leading causes of disability around the globe. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to make depression screening a part of regular health care for women.
A good overall health is what women need in order to face the daily challenges that life throws at them. These preventive screening tests greatly help in keeping track of their health and keeping diseases at bay, giving them more chances of enjoying life to their fullest potential.