Key Health Tests for WomenBy Armela Patalud - General Wellbeing
Today marks the beginning of Women’s Health Week – a great opportunity and reminder for women to take time for themselves and their health.
We know that women take on many different roles each day which is why it’s so important they look after themselves at all the varied stages of life. Regular exercise, healthy eating and properly managing stress are paramount to optimal health. So too is being on top of the various medical tests for women, which can often be forgotten. Below are some of the key ones that should be on the radar.
Starting From 20’s
Pap smear is a test where cells from the cervix are collected and then tested to check for changes that might lead to cervical cancer. A woman should begin taking this test at the age of 21. It should be done every 3 years and then every 5 years once you turn 30.
Starting from 40’s and older
Glucose Tests are necessary to check for prediabetes or diabetes. This is an essential test to have regularly especially if your family has a history of diabetes or if you’re carrying extra weight. This test may start earlier but should be taken every 3 years once you reach 45.
A mammogram is a test conducted to screen for breast cancer. This test can be done anytime especially when you feel an abnormality or pain in your breast. Otherwise, a woman should start taking this test annually once she reaches 45 or earlier if you have a family history.
Colon Cancer Screening – Beginning at age 50, you can start to screen for colon cancer either by having sigmoidoscopy (a lighted tube inserted in the anus to check the lower colon) or colonoscopy (entire colon). Unless you feel like there’s an issue on your colon, this test can be done every 5 years.
Bone Density Screening- This is a test done to screen for osteoporosis and it should begin when you reach the age of 65. The risk factor for osteoporosis increases as a woman ages, so it should be conducted either bi-annually or annually depending on the risk factors involved.
Other tests you should get regardless of age include:
Regular dental check-up
A woman (or anyone) should pay the dentist a visit every 6months. This usually comes with having your teeth cleaned to avoid early signs of decay.
Normally, this test can be repeated every 5years. But cholesterol levels change due to many factors. So it can be done more often especially for women who are overweight and often inactive.
Blood Pressure Screening
This is a simple test that can be done at least annually starting at the age of 20. This test screens for possible hypertension especially for obese women.
These tests may look a handful but they will help keep your body healthy and ready for any challenges any day.
For more information on Women’s Health Week, visit www.womenshealthweek.com.au