While we are always on the go or busy with multiple chores, it is important to stop for a moment and understand the signs of our body.
Sometimes, doesn't it feel like we women can't catch a break! It all starts with waking before everyone in the morning and goes on non-stop until after everyone else has slept. In the constant humdrum of routine life, we tend to forget that our bodies and minds need our attention too. More often than not, we neglect signs that indicate bodily anomalies because we are too busy to drop everything for some time and consult a doctor. We forgo rest and sleep because we have our loved ones to take care of. But it is important for all of us to know that we are our responsibility too. We need to take care of our own bodies too. However, it might not always be possible to be vigilant about our health and symptoms and run self-examinations. Therefore, medical tests are absolutely imperative to stay on top of your bodily functions and health issues.
We have listed out a few important medical tests that all women should have every decade to gain a better knowledge of their health and thereby, take steps to protect themselves.
Note: Your doctor may recommend additional tests based on your personal health profile.
1. Blood Pressure: An increased blood pressure at an early stage in life affects a wide array of bodily functions and organs of your body. It can have adverse effects on your heart, eyes, kidneys, brains. According to Mayo Clinic, right from age 18, women should get used to getting their blood pressure checked every two years and for women in their 30s ask your doctor to check your BP every year as you are at a higher risk of having high blood pressure.
2. Cholesterol profile: "Nearly 1 in 3 American adults has high cholesterol. Too much cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States," claims the Center for Disease Control (CDC). It also recommends screening once between ages 9 and 11 (before puberty), once between ages 17 and 21 (after puberty), and every 4 to 6 years thereafter.
3. Pap smear and self-breast examination: A Pap test, also called a Pap smear, is an exam a doctor uses to test for cervical cancer in women. WebMD suggests that for women in their 30s pap smear should be conducted every 5 years which will help you protect yourself from pelvic cancer or cervical cancer. Also, if you are in your 30s you should periodically examine your breasts for symptoms of breast cancer and should get it clinically checked every 1-3 years.
1. Blood sugar: While Mayo Clinic suggests that anyone who has a body mass of 25 coupled with additional factors like abnormal cholesterol levels, PCOS, high blood pressure and a family history of diabetes should get their blood sugar level tested, it also specifies that women in their mid-40s should get an initial blood sugar test done and if the results are normal, a periodic screening every 3 years should be undertaken.
2. Breast exam or mammogram: By this phase, you should have understood that breast examination is imperative for middle-aged women. While you must be examining yourself at home regularly experts recommend mammograms after age 40. The American Cancer Society puts the age at 45, reports WebMD. However, not all breast cancer experts have the same opinion but you can always get the advice of your doctor.
3. Cholesterol profile: More than 71 million adults in America have high cholesterol levels, a condition that can lead to heart attacks or strokes, confirms WebMD. Therefore, knowing about your cholesterol levels every now and then won't do you any harm, in fact, it would help you protect some of the most important organs of your body, like the heart.
1. Colon cancer screening: Most people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are over the age of 50, reports Mayo Clinic. Therefore, it is recommended to everyone over the age of 50. Additional factors like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heavy smoking or alcohol consumption contribute to the risk of colorectal cancer. While colonoscopy is most recommended, you can ask your doctor which is the best one for you.
2. Blood pressure and cholesterol profile: Unchecked blood pressure levels and cholesterol levels can sometimes be fatal. It is important to get a reading done to know if your heart, eyes, kidneys, brain, etc., are in the right condition.
3. Pap smear: Combining a Pap test with a human papillomavirus (HPV) test can safely extend the interval between cervical cancer screenings from three years to five years in many women between the ages of 30-65, suggests WebMD.
1. Hearing tests: At least 25% of people age 65 to 74 have disabling hearing loss, most of which is treatable. That number increases to 50% with age, claims WebMD. Therefore, it is important for all elderly people to get hearing tests as soon as they start noticing even a minimal loss in hearing.
2. Breast exam and mammogram: Healthline Plus suggests, women up to age 75 should have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years, depending on their risk factors, to check for breast cancer. While you should be doing self-breast exams until your doctor does not recommend you otherwise.
3. Colorectal screening: Until age 75, you should have screening for colorectal cancer on a regular basis. If you are age 76 or older, you should ask your doctor if you should receive screening, suggests Healthline Plus.
4. Cholesterol screening: If your cholesterol level is normal, have it rechecked at least every 5 years. If you have high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be checked more often.