How would you rate yourself on your health? Maybe you are exercising regularly, following a healthy diet, and even taking care of your sleep. But is that actually healthy? So, how do you know if there is nothing going on inside your body?
If you visit a doctor only when you are suffering from some ailment, and never go for routine check-ups, then that might be a big mistake. Especially talking of women, they are constantly multitasking and usually tend to ignore the most important thing – their own health and regular health screenings or health tests. Maybe you are just passing weeks on weeks and living calendar to calendar, but unfortunately, there might be something brewing up in your body, which needs your attention. So, what can you do about it?
First and foremost, always visit your doctor and get regular check-ups done. There are some common tests for various age-groups that should be done at regular intervals. Read on to find more about it.
Tests you need between 15 to 25
- Immunizations: It’s important to get a flu shot every year. At or after age 19, you must get a tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine if you did not get it as an adolescent. You should also get a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years. Besides, remember to take two doses of the varicella vaccine in case you never had chickenpox. Then, get one to two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Your doctor may advise other immunizations if you are at a risk for certain conditions like pneumonia.
- PCOS Screening: The earlier you diagnose PCOS, you have a better chance to decrease the risk of complications and treating it properly.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Tests: STDs mostly could be symptomless, which means that they can be passed on to your partner or, if you are pregnant, then to your unborn child. Sexually active women aged between 15 and above should be regularly checked for STDs. This is particularly important for women who are in their 20s, and for others who have had multiple or new sex partners.
- Eye Examination: The recommended guidelines for an eye test for adults begin at the age of 18, then every couple of years until 60, unless you have a problem like diabetes. Beginning at the age of 61, you should definitely go for an annual eye exam.
- IRON Studies to rule out iron deficiency anemia.
Tests you need between 25 to and 35
- Pelvic Ultrasound: Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOD is one of the major problems which most women in their 20s and 30s are facing these days. In this condition, multiple small cysts or fibroids are formed in one’s ovary. These cysts could cause irregular periods and even infertility. If you notice issues like hair growth in unwanted areas, unexplained weight problems, headaches, oily skin, or irregular periods, then you could be suffering from PCOS. Waste no time and consult your gynecologist to get yourself tested. Though there is no single test to diagnose this problem, doctors usually rely on blood tests, a pelvic ultrasound, and a physical examination.
- Pap and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Tests: If you are between 25- to 35-years-old, you should get a Pap and HPV screening done to rule out pre-or early cervical cancer or the risk of the HPV virus. However, women in the age bracket of 30 to 65 who have a normal Pap test and get a negative HPV, only require to be re-screened after every five years.
- AMH Testing for Egg freezing: This is a process where a woman’s eggs are extracted, frozen, and then stored to preserve for later use. It is beneficial for various reasons for women who don’t want to have a baby immediately and wish to preserve their fertility for the future. It is also useful for women who want to delay childbearing to pursue higher education, career, or some other personal goals. Besides that, egg freezing is also used by women diagnosed with cancer. This procedure should be done in your prime reproductive years, that is, in your 20s and early 30s, so that you can take benefit of premium egg quality and good quantity. Also, with age, a woman’s eggs diminish in number along with cellular integrity, which is why a woman in her 40s has just a mere 5 percent chance to become pregnant. If you think you could consider an egg-freezing procedure, get in touch with your gynecologist as soon as possible. In the egg-freezing procedure, Anti-Mullerian Hormone or AMH test is done. This is a blood test that helps analyze a woman’s ovarian reserve and finds if there are any problems like PCOD, low ovarian reserve, or early menopause. This test can also offer insight on the remaining egg quantity and duration of fertility, but not much on the quality of eggs. Low levels of AMH show low ovarian reserve, while high levels suggest a good future fertility probability. AMH levels are mostly stable and not much affected by the menstrual cycle, oral contraception, or pregnancy. Therefore, the AMH test can be done at any time of the month. The AMH test is beneficial if you have been unable to get pregnant for over six months after trying, or if you are planning IVF or some other fertility treatments.
Tests you need when over 35
- Self-breast examination – manual examination of size, shape, or any lump in the breast
- Mammogram: This test is recommended starting at the age of 40. After that, you can get screened every year. A timely mammography screening is essential for every woman to ensure if there is any chance of breast cancer. In today’s times, 20 percent of women globally, suffer from breast cancer. Women below 50 years should get mammograms done once every year. In case you find any breast abnormalities such as breast lumps or some abnormal nipple discharge, immediately consult your doctor without any delay.
- Thyroid Function Test: This is a simple blood test to ensure how your thyroid glands are functioning. If you notice brittle nails, excessive hair loss, unexplained weight loss or gain, then you should get your thyroid tests like T3, T3RU, T4, and TSH done. These symptoms could show overactive thyroid, which is hyperthyroid, or an underactive one, known as, hypothyroid. Women are generally more prone to this ailment because of hormonal changes, pregnancy, or menopause
Tests after you are 60
- Hearing Test: Impaired hearing is said to affect your mental processes and can also impact your quality of life. You should get your hearing tested once every 10 years until the age of 50, then after 60, it should be done annually.
- Bone Density Test: Did you know that over 200 million women suffer from low bone density throughout the world? Osteoporosis is an ailment that causes bone thinning and raises the risk of fracture. Though recommended for women over 60 and above, getting a bone density test will tell you if you have this disease or if there is any risk. Daily sunlight exposure, vitamin D3, and calcium intake will keep your bones healthy.
- Routine Blood Tests – Regular blood tests should be done every year. Tests like Lipid profile liver function tests, blood sugars, kidney function tests, vitamin D levels, vitamin B12 levels, pelvic ultrasound are important.
- Eye & Fundus Examination
Getting these health screenings done as per your age and at regular intervals is very important to rule out any complications or disease. If you have any doubts, get in touch with your healthcare provider soon as it’s true that health is your real wealth.