Top Screenings for Women
Caring for others comes naturally to most women. But you can‚Äôt take care of the ones you love unless you first take care of yourself.
The eight health screenings listed here are essential for every woman who wants to live a longer and healthier life. Of course, risk factors such as family history, age and ethnicity need to be considered. So talk to your physician about a customized schedule of screenings to meet your personal healthcare needs.
Blood Pressure: Checks the levels of pressure inside your blood vessels.
Why? High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to heart attack or stroke.
How Often? Every two years if normal. More frequently if you have hypertension.
Cholesterol: Checks the levels of this natural substance in the blood.
Why? High cholesterol can lead to heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
How Often? At least once a year starting at age 45. If you smoke, have diabetes or have a family history of heart disease, you may need to start as early as age 20.
Osteoporosis: Checks your bone mass density.
Why? Helps prevent broken bones, especially in the hip, spine and wrist.
How Often? Have a bone density test starting at age 65. If you have some of the risk factors for osteoporosis (see page 6), talk to your physician about testing earlier.
Diabetes: Checks the levels of insulin, a hormone that converts food into energy.
Why? Diabetes can lead to heart disease, blindness and amputation.
How Often? Talk to your physician about your risk factors and testing frequency.
Breast Cancer: A mammogram exam checks for abnormalities.
Why? Early detection is extremely important in defeating breast cancer.
How Often? Have a mammogram every 1 – 2 years starting at age 40.
Cervical Cancer: A Pap test checks for abnormal cell growth in the cervix.
Why? Early detection is critical in fighting cervical cancer.
How Often? Every 1 – 3 years if you have been sexually active or are older than 21.
Colorectal Cancer: Checks your genetic predisposition for this type of cancer.
Why? Helps detect the second most common form of cancer.
How Often? Initial testing at age 50. Talk to your physician about your risk factors to determine testing frequency.
Skin: A self-exam that checks for skin changes, especially new or bleeding moles.
Why? 95 percent of skin cancer can be successfully treated if detected early.
How Often? Check yourself once a month, and contact your physician immediately if you notice any changes.