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There are many different factors that can determine a woman’s health and wellbeing. In addition to enjoying a healthy diet and regular exercise, it is also essential to attend various medical appointments. Find out about the 12 health checks all women should have, in no particular order.
Blood Pressure Screenings
Once a woman reaches the age of 18, she should start having her blood pressure checked every two years as a minimum. It is a relatively simply process, as a cuff will be wrapped around your arm and pumped tightly. A healthy rule of thumb is that a female’s blood pressure should be less than 120/80 mmHg.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, there are many things you can do to lower your levels. For instance, you can lose excess weight, enjoy a healthier diet, regularly exercise, and reduce your consumption of salt and alcohol.
As soon as you reach 20 years old, you must have your cholesterol checked every five years. It is essential to have your levels checked to decrease the risk of developing heart disease. It’s easy to check your cholesterol, as a doctor will draw a blood sample for testing or can quickly screen your levels with a finger-prick. A healthy total cholesterol is below 200mg/DL. You can lower your cholesterol by eating healthier fats, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber.
An STD Test
Regardless of whether you have had one or multiple sexual partners, it is important to receive an STD test, which can identify if you are living with a sexually transmitted disease. Never allow your sexual health to fall by the wayside, as you could unknowingly be living with chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, or HIV, which could pass on to others. Millions of people receive a test every year, so there is no reason to be embarrassed. Find out more at Safer STD testing.
Pap Smears and Pelvic Exams
Once you reach 21 years old, or are sexually active, you must book a pap smear and pelvic exam every two years, as it is essential to identify any abnormalities within the reproductive system. If women experience no problems by the age of 30, they will only need to experience the tests every three years following three normal tests.
Never fear a pap smear, as the process is relatively simply. A speculum will be inserted inside the vagina to widen the vaginal canal. A doctor will then use a small tool to remove cells from the cervix to identify any cell changes that could result in cervical cancer.
Clinical Breast Exam
From her twenties, a woman should receive a clinical breast exam every three years, and should continue to do so until the age of 40. Women will then need to experience a breast examination annually. The manual exam will be performed by a doctor, who will use their fingers to explore the breasts for any potential lumps or abnormalities.
If you are aged 40 or over, it is vital to attend a mammogram, which is a screening test to identify breast cancer. Mild pressure will be applied to your breasts to capture the x-ray images. The test will need to be performed every one or two years once you reach the age of 40 years old.
Colon Cancer Screenings
Women aged 50 or over will also need to attend a colon cancer screening, which can be performed at either a doctor’s practice or hospital, depending on the test. There are a variety of tests that can be performed, such as a colonoscopy or a flexible sigmoidoscopy.
A colonoscopy will require a long tube to be inserted to examine the colon. While a flexible sigmoidoscopy requires the insertion of a lighted tube with a camera to be inserted into the anus to review the lower colon area, which will need to be repeated every five to ten years.
It is essential to maintain good mental health from the moment a baby sprouts her first tooth. Every woman will need to attend twice yearly dental checkups, which will require a dentist to examine your mouth and perform x-rays to maintain healthy teeth and prevent tooth decay. A dentist can also identify any other potential health issues affecting your teeth, mouth, and gums, such as gum disease and mouth cancer.
Body Mass Index
Attend an annual physical exam to calculate your body mass index (BMI) against your height and weight. The examination can identify obesity, and can determine if you are at risk of related serious health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes. If so, you can enjoy a healthier diet and regular exercise to reduce your excess weight and improve your health.
Every woman should personally examine her skin at least once a month from 18 years old. Once a female reaches 20 years old, a dermatologist or doctor must perform a skin examination during a routine medical check-up. Unsure how to perform a skin exam? Carefully inspect your skin for any abnormalities or changes, such as new moles or mole alterations, which could be an early sign of skin cancer.
Bone Density Screening
Women aged 65 and over must be screened for osteoporosis. Those who might be considered a risk of the condition should therefore be screened earlier, perhaps they easily fractured a bone, or simply have a slender frame. It’s a simple test that requires a patient to lie on the table to allow a scanning machine to capture x-ray images of specific bones in the body.
Blood Glucose Tests
Blood glucose tests can identify whether a patient is experiencing diabetes or is pre-diabetes. It is important for women aged 45 and over to receive the test to identify their blood glucose levels. However, you should request a test if you experience any diabetes symptoms before 45, such as frequent urination, extreme fatigue, thirst, blurred vision, hunger, weight loss, and more. If the test result is of 100mg/DL or higher, it could indicate that you have diabetes or pre-diabetes.