Important Preventive Health Screenings For Women
When it comes to health screenings, the more regularly you can get them the better. Because every woman is different, there is no defined list of screenings to use. However, there are guidelines many doctors use that can help you decide which services you may need.
This is a screening exam that every woman should do once a year. It is used to discuss current health concerns and lifestyle habits, cancer, general health screenings, keep up with vaccinations, and evaluate future health risks. You may also talk about your emotional state, as this is an important factor in your overall health.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection that is contracted from the blood of infected individuals. Screening is recommended once in a lifetime for women between the ages of 18-79 years.
Many primary care physicians don’t even do this type of exam unless it is requested or necessary due to eye conditions. They can be recommended at least once between the ages of 20 and 29 and twice between ages 30 and 39.
Some doctors suggest getting a baseline eye disease screening when you turn 40 and follow-up screenings as needed. When you turn 65, it is recommended that you get eye exams every one to two years. All of these screenings are meant to check for diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration.
Thyroid screening is recommended starting at age 45, every 3 years. If you plan on becoming pregnant or at risk of hypothyroidism, speak with your doctor about the appropriate time to get screened.
Taking care of your breast health is important, which is why every woman should have a clinical breast exam at some point. For women in their 20s and 30s, these are usually done every three years. For women who have a family history of breast cancer or other health concerns, these screenings can be done more often.
For women over 40, breast exams should be done once a year, although some establishments don’t recommend them unless they are necessary. The goal is to detect breast cancer early. Even women older than their 50s are recommended by many to get screened, but age is not the main factor in testing. Remember, speaking with your doctor is the best way to know which screenings you should get. Yearly screening mammograms are recommended at age 40 for early detection of breast cancer. If you have a family history of breast cancer or are at high risk, mammograms may be recommended sooner.
There are a lot of tests that go into this type of screening. Here are just a few of them your doctor will talk to you about. We want to emphasize this: It is vital to ask your physician about the tests you actually need and how often you will need to get them.
Pap Smears and HPV testing: Women ages 21 to 29 should have a test every three years and possibly HPV screening. For women ages 30 to 65, screening should be done every five years or just a pap test every three years. Testing usually stops between the ages of 65 and 70.
Chlamydia testing: This is often done yearly for sexually active women up to the age of 25. For women older than this, testing is recommended if you are at higher risk, such as if you have new sexual partners.
Syphilis, Hepatitis B/C, and other STDs: Women should get this type of screening every time they are sexually active with a new partner within a year.
HIV testing: All women (and their partners as well) should be tested for HIV before becoming sexually active. Education about prevention, as well as risk evaluation, should be provided during every annual exam.
This screening, called a fasting plasma glucose test or a blood glucose test, should be done per your doctor’s recommendations. Some women are at more risk than others for getting diabetes. For healthy women, testing often begins at the age of 45 and is done every three years. For women at higher risk, testing should be done earlier and more often.
Depending upon your risk factors and family health history, you will likely start getting bone mineral density tests at the age of 65 or earlier. There are no early indications of osteoporosis, so it is important to be open with your doctor about your history. This condition is usually discovered when you break a bone.
This type of cancer doesn’t just affect men. According to the CDC, all adults between the ages of 45 and 75 years old should be screened for it. If you are at risk or have a family history of colon cancer, you may need to do this sooner. Speak with your doctor to find out more about this important type of screening.
There are many other things you and your doctor should be aware of when it comes to your health. Skin health screenings, for example, may focus on acne or screening for skin cancers. Other types of screening watch for issues with your colorectal health, heart, lungs, fitness, and brain health. You will also want to discuss vaccinations like the flu shot, pneumonia vaccine, shingles vaccine, hepatitis vaccination, and a tetanus shot.
No matter your age, the Team at WHA is ready to help you stay healthy and happy! We provide a variety of Services, including health screenings. Give us a call at (806) 355-6330 to schedule an appointment and learn more About Us.
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