When women think of good health habits, they may think of things like regular exercise and a healthy diet. But just as important, are preventive health screenings that can detect issues early when most treatable.
The American Heart Association recommends blood pressure checks every two years, beginning at age 20. Women 40 years of age and older, African American women, and women with risks like obesity and diabetes should be screened annually.
High cholesterol levels increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Most adults should have the simple blood test that assesses cholesterol every four to six years.
A fasting glucose test determines if you have diabetes or prediabetes. This blood test checks blood sugar levels after not eating or drinking anything (except water) for at least eight hours.
A Pap (Papanicolaou) test, or Pap smear, tests for cervical cancer by collecting cells from your cervix. Women ages 21 to 30 should have a Pap test every three years. After age 30, a Pap, combined with HPV (human papillomavirus) screening is recommended every five years.
The American Cancer Society recommends women at average risk for breast cancer begin yearly mammograms by age 45, or as early as age 40 if they choose. At age 55, women should have the choice of switching to screening every two years or continuing yearly mammograms. Women with a family history of breast cancer should talk to their provider about when to start mammography.
The American Cancer Society recommends people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45. This may be a sensitive test that identifies signs of cancer in a person’s stool, or a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy that looks at the colon and rectum.
Starting at age 65, women should have a bone density test called a Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA/DEXA) scan of the hip, spine, and wrist to assess the risk for osteoporosis—a bone-thinning disease that can lead to fractures. Women with risk factors like fractures or low body weight, should be screened earlier.
Ask. Us. Anything. Our women’s health program is built around honest, open dialogue that addresses your specific health-care needs. No matter where you are on life’s journey, we have the services to help keep you healthy. Check out lghealth.org/womenshealth for more information.