In order to keep you as healthy as possible, we have compiled not less than 15 medical screening tests that will help you keep in shape regardless of your age. Ladies, think about these tests as of regular high maintenance and great results will show up instantly. Take these tests now, thank us later.
1. Take a Vitamin D test
Taking into account the fact that women are 80% more prone to osteoporosis than men, a vitamin D test is paramount for you, especially if you are over 45. Vitamin D maintains bones strong but at the same time protects you against cancer and other infections so there are plenty of reasons to take this test. Unfortunately, most women are unaware of their vitamin D deficiency. Taking a simple blood test can spare you of future trouble. Based on the results you score you will be able to see if your diet provides you with a sufficient quantity of vitamin D or if you are getting enough sun exposure. A vitamin D supplement recommended by your doctor will solve any existent problem. The most accurate measurement is provided by the 25(OH)D3 test. The optimum level of vitamin D is between 30 and 80 nanograms per milliliter.
As we have already mentioned, this test addresses particularly to women over 45 but if you have a family history of osteoporosis you should consider getting it earlier.
2. Cholesterol screening/lipid profile
Cholesterol is a sort of protein which can build up in your arteries and later increase your chances in developing heart diseases. There are two different kinds of cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol or LDL and the “good” cholesterol HDL which actually protects you against heart diseases. A complete cholesterol test will look at both data and will presumably include the level of your triglycerides which generally must be below 150 milligrams per deciliter. You should take this test every five years and even more often as you age because cholesterol levels seem to rise in women who reach menopause. Moreover, if you have a family history of heart diseases, your doctor might recommend you a lipoprotein sub-fraction test for a closer analysis of your cholesterol level.
3. Bone Density Testing
In many cases Vitamin D testing is not sufficient to attest the health of your bones. Taking a bone density test will rest you assured of the health of your bones. Unlike a Vitamin D test which is a blood test, bone density testing presupposes specialized X-rays called a DXA (X-rays with dual energy). Generally, bone density testing includes screening your spine, wrists and hips. This test is usually recommended to every woman reaching menopause since this period marks low estrogen levels. However, if you have a family history of osteoporosis or fractures bone density testing should represent a priority. Repeat the test every five years for optimum results.
4. Check your blood pressure
Although it may sound fairly exaggerated, the best period to start checking your blood pressure is your childhood. Lately, more women than men have started dying of heart diseases, mostly as a result of stressful environments. This test should be taken once a year as it is effortlessly and painless. It involves a physical reading using an arm cuff. However, if you are taking medication for heart conditions or your readings are too high, your doctor will probably recommend you to have your blood pressure checked at least twice a year. Best blood pressure results would be 120/80. Any result higher than 140/90 doubles your chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
5. Diabetes Screening
Testing diabetes means verifying your tolerance for glucose absorption or how fast your body digests sugar. Unfortunately, many women get diabetes while pregnant and although gestational diabetes is curable in most cases you are more likely to develop type-2 diabetes later in life. To test your tolerance for glucose absorption you are asked to consume a sugary drink and after that a blood draw is performed. In order to perform a fasting glucose tolerance test you are not allowed to eat for nine hours before the examination. Diabetes screening generally addresses to women over 45 and to all pregnant ladies. Perform this test at a younger age if you have a family history of the disease, high blood pressure or if you are significantly overweight. Repeat the procedure every three years.
6. Audiograms: Check your hearing
Losing hearing has become a major concern among specialists since it has been demonstrated that one in three adults struggles with this problem over the age of 60. It is important to make an appointment to a specialist whenever you are experiencing missed social cues, difficulties following conversations or distinguishing people speech from background noises. If other members of your family or friends suggest that you might have hearing problems contact an audiologist to check your hearing or an otolaryngologist to verify the general condition of your ears.
7. Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopy
The form of cancer which affects the lower part of the intestines is called colorectal cancer and it is curable in 90 percent of all cases if it is discovered early enough. These two tests will help you monitor the health of your colon and spare you of future trouble. Unfortunately, many women consider that colon cancer is a disease which mostly affects men and choose not to do these tests which can save their lives. Although the death of regretted Farah Fawcett from anal cancer was largely publicized, women still do not take their colonoscopy tests. A colonoscopy consists of a small tube with a camera which is introduced through your rectum to analyze your colon from the inside. A sigmoidoscopy only looks at your lower section of the colon which is also called the sigmoid. For women who do not present any risk factors, colonoscopies are recommended beginning with age 50. When you have a first-degree family member who suffered from colon cancer you should consider taking these tests earlier.
8. Vision Screening and Eye examination
Beginning with age 18, regular eye examinations are more than recommended in order to maintain the health of your eyes. Women present a higher risk than men to develop age-related macular degeneration which is the most common eye disease at present. If you are suffering from diabetes you have a higher risk of developing vision problems, therefore your visits to the doctor should be a lot more often. Make sure that during you eye examination the doctor check for all possible problems including retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
9. FOBT Fecal Occult Blood Testing
This test represents another key for detecting colon cancer at an early stage as it checks for blood in the stool which is not visible at a first look. Moreover, FOBT can also indicate other intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. In order to perform this test you will be asked to present three stool samples on consecutive days. This way, specialists will check for cancer and other conditions which do not bleed daily or consistently. Take this exam yearly after you turn 50. Your doctor will probably recommend this test earlier if you present risks for developing intestinal conditions.
10. Skin Cancer Screening
Although skin cancer may not be as deadly as other types of cancer it still affects a lot of people, men and women. Due to the latest fashion of tanning beds and other outdoor activities more young women have been diagnosed with different forms of skin cancer. This is why you should consider visiting a doctor to examine your skin at any age. Focus on any area of your skin which seems to be changing or growing. Be extremely careful with the appearance of new moles or lesions. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any changes affecting your moles. Doctors actually recommend a monthly shower examination to observe any differences in moles or other birth marks.
11. Get a Mammogram
Since breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting women, apart the physical examination of the breasts, mammograms represent the most effective tool to screen for breast tumors. A mammogram consists of a specialized X-ray of the breasts and can be either digital or on film. Both methods are effective, but it has been demonstrated that in younger women or women with particularly dense breasts, digital mammograms presented better results. Consider getting a mammography every year after 40 and even sooner if a first relative suffered from breast cancer.
12. Thyroid Testing
The thyroid is a small gland situated in your neck and its role is to regulate the metabolic rate of your whole body. Due to hormonal factors, women generally have higher chances of developing thyroid conditions. You can either have an overactive thyroid, and the condition called hyperthyroidism or an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. If you are hyperthyroid you may experience insomnias, weight loss and overactive pulse, while if you are hypothyroid you might be usually constipated and have a fatigued look. The most common test used for checking thyroid levels is the TSH, a blood test which measures your thyroid-stimulating hormone. Your target is to keep the TSH between 0.4 and 5.5. If your doctor decides you need additional testing he will recommend you the T4 test which assesses the thyroid function in detail. Thyroid testing should begin at the age of 35 and should be conducted annually after age of 60.
13. Physical Breast Examination
Women over 18 should have a doctor perform a physical breast examination annually, alongside with the pelvic examination. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer found in women and a physical breast exam is the best way to check for any lumps, pain, inflamed skin or any other breast changes. Perform a physical breast exam yourself monthly in the shower. The best period for this examination is right after you have had period as your breasts will not be sore. If you notice any change in your breasts, underarms or nipples contact a doctor immediately. Keep in mind that these simple exams can save your life one day.
14. Metabolic Syndrome Screening
Metabolic syndrome represents a group of symptoms which can put you at risk for heart diseases or even diabetes. Screening for metabolic syndrome means checking a list of issues and taking additional tests if the issues are present. Generally, if you check more than three of the following factors you should take the test:
If your waist is greater than 35 inches
If your low (also called the good) cholesterol level is below 50mg/dl=L
If your blood pressure is higher than 130/85
If your Elevated triglycerides are greater than 150 mg/dL
If your fasting glucose is above 100mg/dL
15. Pelvic exam and pap smear
Cervical cancer represents the second cause of death from cancer in women worldwide. A pap smear represents a preventive step against cancer. The examination consists of a swab test. A swab is introduced inside your vagina in order to remove some cells from the cervix which will be later analyzed in a laboratory for possible signs of cancer. This test is recommended to women over 21 or within three years of becoming sexually active and should be performed annualy.
This was a guest post by Sebastian Grandison who is a medical tests specialist for MedSipo where he ensures that all test results are correctly interpreted. When he isn’t busy at work, he enjoys trekking, cooking, traveling, and reading about the latest medical breakthroughs.