Part of maintaining good health is getting health screening tests for age-related diseases. As we get older, we become more susceptible to certain diseases. By screening for these diseases, you can catch them early, when they are easy to treat and less likely to cause complications. Here are some screening tests every woman needs: Monthly breast self-exam and visual inspection for moles. Have your doctor or nurse teach you how to do a breast self exam and do it every month. At the same time, stand naked in front of a mirror and inspect your skin for moles or unusual growths.
Thyroid test—have your thyroid checked every year after you turn 35. Many people develop low thyroid hormone levels as they get older.
Heart tests—have your blood pressure checked at least every two years. Talk with your doctor about how often you should have your cholesterol checked. Your risk of heart disease goes up with age, especially after menopause.
Bone density—if you haven’t had a bone density test by the time you are 65, you should have one. Your risk of osteoporosis increases after menopause.
Diabetes test—your blood sugar should be checked when you are 45 and about every three years after that.
Mammograms—start at age 40 and have one every 1-2 years after that.
PAP and pelvic exam—you should have your first pap at about age 21 or earlier if you are *** active, and every 1-3 years following until after age 65
Chlamydia test—you should have a Chlamydia test every year if you have new or multiple sex partners. You should also have a Chlamydia test if you get pregnant.
*** transmitted diseases—if you have a new *** partner, both you and your partner should be tested for STD’s, including HIV, before you have intercourse.
Colorectal cancer screenings—these start at age 50. You should have your poop checked for blood and either a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a barium enema or a colonoscopy every 5-10 years. Colonoscopy can prevent colon cancer because the doctor will remove pre-cancerous polyps during the test.
Eye exams—every 2-4 years after age 40. We don’t lose visual acuity as we grow older, but we do lose the ability to accommodate to near and far distances easily. That means bifocals and trifocals.
Hearing exams—every 10 years after age 18. Hearing diminishes with age.
Dental exams—once or twice a year. Keep those pearly whites as long as you can! Most people who have good dental care will never need dentures.
Routine health screening tests are inconvenient, uncomfortable, sometimes embarrassing—and often life-saving. They are an important part of taking good care of yourself. You deserve a long and healthy life, so get the screening tests that will help you have it.
Penny Watkins is a freelance writer at PillsPills Pharmacy who worked as a critical care nurse for over twenty years, specializing in cardiovascular nursing.