Eating well, getting enough sleep and regular exercise are all essential to taking care of yourself. But did you know that an important part of living well means regular screenings? Preventative screening tests for women can catch many health concerns before they become bigger problems.
But what preventative screenings should women consider? We’ll take a look at nine of the most valuable screening tests for women.
Blood Pressure Test
Starting at age 18, regular blood pressure tests are important for overall good health. One blood pressure test every two years is the minimum if your blood pressure is below 120/80. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89 you’ll need to visit your doctor once a year. And if you blood pressure is 140/90 or above it’s time to discuss treatment options with your family physician.
Bone Mineral Density Test (DEXA Test)
Age 50 is a good time to begin a conversation with your doctor about bone health and whether you’re at risk for osteoporosis. At 65 it’s recommended you have at least one bone density test done. Depending on your personal history your doctor may recommend repeat testing.
There had been a great deal of confusion in the media concerning mammography, including when to start and how often to have this important test. The American College of Radiology continues to recommend screening mammograms EVERY YEAR for asymptomatic women beginning at age 40 who are at average risk for breast cancer. Screening should start earlier for women at increased risk for early breast cancers. Screening should continue as long as the patients health permits. If you are unsure about when you should start having mammograms, please speak to your primary doctor, your OB/GYN, or our staff at Southtowns Radiology.
Cervical Cancer Screening for Women (With Intact Cervix)
A PAP test every three years is recommended for women over the age of 21. At 30 you can combine HPV (human papillomavirus) testing with your Pap test; once every five years. Beginning at age 65, ask your doctor whether continued PAP tests are necessary.
Regular cholesterol testing is recommended starting at age 20 if you are at an increased risk for heart disease. Your doctor can discuss how often you’ll need to check your cholesterol.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Starting at age 50, screening for colorectal cancer is an absolute must. Testing may include one or more tests, such as colonoscopy, the less invasive CT colonography, or a sigmoidoscopy. Talk with your doctor to determine which diagnostics are best for you.
Everyone should get testing for HIV at least once, and all pregnant women need to be tested for the virus. Your doctor can discuss with you whether the need for multiple or more frequents tests is required.
If you are 18 years old and take high blood pressure medication, or if a blood pressure test reveals your blood pressure to be greater than 135/80, it’s time to begin diabetes screening.
STDs (including Chlamydia, Syphilis, and Gonorrhea)
It is recommended that you get tested for STDs if you are sexually active. Talk to your doctor to determine which preventative screening tests are appropriate for you.
An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. To book your appointment, or to discuss how preventative screening tests would benefit you, contact the staff at Southtowns Radiology today, and take control of your health.