Five health tests you need to get done if you are a woman over 30
Women are the masters of multitasking, constantly juggling things to maintain the perfect balance in life. But in their attempts to reach their everyday goals, health usually takes a back seat. If you have just crossed 30, however, it is time to take your health more seriously.
As women age, they are at higher risk for developing various health conditions, ranging from high cholesterol to breast and cervical cancer. The best way to avoid them? Routine testing.
Of course, a healthy lifestyle can take care of several health problems, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Here are five such tests that you should add to your things-to-do-post-30 list.
Pelvic exam with pap smear
Women should start getting a pelvic exam as part of their routine health checkup by the time they are 21 years old, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It’s never too late to start, though. If you are a woman over 30, get a pap test or pap smear for the detection of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection along with a pelvic exam.
During a pap smear, your doctor will collect tissue samples from your cervix (the lowest part of the vagina) to check for precancerous cells. Try and get the test done once every three years.
A pelvic exam includes a physical examination of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, rectum and bladder. It helps look for any physical abnormalities such as lumps or vaginal discharge and sexually-transmitted infections (STIs).
Both these tests help in the early detection and treatment of diseases like cervical cancer in women.
With more than 60 million diabetics, India is known as the diabetes capital of the world. Gestational diabetes can affect even healthy women during pregnancy - it can also lead to premature and stillbirths. The risk of diabetes increases with age. Get your blood sugar tested, even if you are otherwise healthy.
Your doctor may also suggest a blood sugar test if you have blood pressure above 140/90 mm Hg or if you have a body mass index (BMI) over 25. Talk to your doctor to know how often to get a blood sugar test, if you have a family history of diabetes.
BMI or weight to height ratio of 25 and above is an indicator of being overweight or obese.
Mammogram with a breast examination
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting women around the world. The risk of breast cancer gradually increases as women age. Though a screening test is usually recommended after 40, if you have a family history of breast cancer, you might want to get a regular breast examination and mammogram done much earlier.
Mammography is an X-ray procedure that helps detect lumps in the breast. It can be done once a year to screen for breast cancer or precancerous lesions.
Generally, self-examination to look for lumps or abnormalities in breasts is enough in young women. You can ask your gynaecologist about the right way to do a self-exam. However, it is best to get a regular clinical check-up, too.
Cholesterol is necessary for maintaining metabolic functions, but an excess of low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol poses a threat to cardiovascular health. It can lead to blockage of arteries and damage to the brain.
According to an article by Johns Hopkins Medicine, U.S., women are at much higher risk from cholesterol due to fluctuations in their hormones during menopause. The average age of menopause among urban Indian women is 46.2 years. Of course, you are probably many years away from this important milestone. But be mindful that the risk from cholesterol also increases gradually with age.
Experts recommend regular cholesterol check-up — every five years — for women above the age of 30. If you have diabetes, or heart or kidney disease, your doctor may recommend more frequent testing.
Blood pressure screening
Hypertension is one of the most common causes of heart disease and heart attack. As per the National Health Portal of India, one in five Indian adults has it. In the article 'Hypertension in women', Dr. Fadi G. Hage, Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Alabama at Birmingham, U.S., wrote: “The prevalence and severity of hypertension rise markedly with age, and blood pressure becomes really difficult to control in both genders, particularly in women... In addition to the usual causes and risks, menopause, use of oral contraceptives and pregnancy are exclusive risk factors for hypertension in women.”
That's why regular blood pressure checkup becomes all the more important as you grow older. A blood pressure of 120/80 mm Hg is considered normal. Doctors recommend having your blood pressure tested every two years if your levels fall in the normal range. If, however, your readings are above 130 mm of Hg of systolic pressure (the upper value, which indicates the pressure on arteries when the heart pumps blood to the body), or if you suffer from health conditions like diabetes or kidney diseases, get your blood pressure tested more often.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. To know more on this topic, please visit https://www.myupchar.com/en/test/pap-smear-test
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Sep 06, 2019 13:03:35 IST
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