It’s a normal tendency to make a visit to the doctor’s office only when you fall sick. By the time we seek medical aid, the symptoms have already escalated to the illness and sometimes we are left thinking wouldn’t it have been better if I got a check-up earlier?
There is no doubt that medical assistance is at our disposal 24x7 and the facilities in India are often immaculate. However, our tendencies to ignore regular health checkups most times lead to compromised health issues. When you are younger, you feel invincible. But as the years go on, the body starts responding to growing age. Especially for women, the frequent changes in their body directly affect the state of their health. Hence, women cannot underestimate the importance of regular health screening.
Regular screenings may even save your life! Regular monitoring is crucial to treating cancers, preventing heart attacks and leads to a better state of mind. Mammograms, pap smears and cholesterol aren’t the only screenings to look out for. There are a few more routine exams that every woman should take depending upon her age, history and heredity. Wondering when you should start screening? Here is a guide to the tests that women are recommended to take for early detection, prevention of illness and therefore work towards better health conditions.
Starting as early as 18 years of age, girls should get Body Mass Index tests which screen for obesity or a future health risk that may be associated with your weight and mass index; diabetes, thyroid or heart disease which may be looming in the distant future.
Blood Pressure Test
Starting at the age of 20, women should get their blood pressure checked on routine basis. A reading of 120/80 is considered ideal.
Getting a cholesterol check once every 3-4 years is recommended once 20 years old. This assesses the risk of heart diseases and probable chances of meeting the dreaded heart strokes. Cholesterol levels should ideally be less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl); a borderline high reading is between 200 and 239 mg/dl.
Eye, Ear and Dental
Unless you experience hearing issues, there are no tests for hearing. But it is good to get your ears checked every once a while you visit your ENT. Dental examinations are quite necessary, every 6-12 months to check gum health, remove plaque and prevent tooth and gum diseases.
Blood Glucose (Diabetes)
Starting at the age of 45, recommended every 3 years, its necessary to take fasting plasma/blood glucose test to provide an early warning sign of high blood sugar levels, which could mean an increased risk for diabetes.
Osteoporosis is a weak link in fractures. There are no obvious signs of osteoporosis until you fracture a bone. At least once, beginning at the age of 65, you should get a test for bone density done to start treatment and prevent further bone loss.
The history of cancer in your family is not to be taken lightly. If breast cancer runs in your family, you may need to begin regular mammogram tests earlier on. From the age of 40, women are recommended to take mammogram checks every year to identify possible early signs of breast cancer.
In a pap smear, cells from the cervix are taken off with a small brush and examined for changes that may lead to cervical cancer. Pap smear is recommended every 5 years after the age of 30 combined with a screen for HPV.
Sometimes worrisome moles are an indicator of increased health risks. Talk to your health care provider for periodic skin exams to prevent skin cancer.
Besides making check-ups your routine habits, every woman must make time for healthy lifestyle, reduced stress, regular exercise and good eating habits. One of the best habits to clearly adopt is scheduling routine health screenings which can be diagnosed for any health issue and detect all root problems early on. Because all these tests are considered as preventative measures, some insurance companies have them covered too. Better now than sorry later?!