Getting preventative screening tests is one of the most important ways that you can take charge of your health and make sure that you’re continuing to make healthy choices. Certain personalized factors may increase your chances of getting a condition, so always check with your doctor to see if you should get tested more often.
Here are 6 of the most important preventative screening tests for women’s health:
Blood Pressure Test: Blood pressure is important to track because high rates of blood pressure can dramatically increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. At the same time, high blood pressure does not normally have obvious symptoms associated with it, so make sure to get checked at least once every two years to keep an eye on this important number.
Mammography: Mammography imaging of your breasts is critical to detecting abnormalities and tumors. There are different recommendations out there, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now recommends that women get themselves checked out each year starting at the age of 40.
Blood Glucose Tests: Over 23 million Americans have type 2 diabetes with another 86 million estimated to have prediabetes. Untreated, this disease can cause serious medical issues, including heart disease and stroke. It’s recommended that you get a blood glucose test every three years, starting at the age of 45, and more frequently if you have an increased risk.
Lipid Panel: It’s a good idea to get a fasting lipoprotein profile (lipid panel) every four to six years once you’re 20 years old to keep an eye on your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If your doctor determines that you have an increased risk for stroke or heart disease, then you’ll want to get yourself checked more regularly.
Pap and HPV Tests: The Pap test (also known as a Pap smear) and the HPV test are both used to screen women for cervical cancer. The USPSTF recommends starting these tests at the age of 21 and getting screened once every three years.
Colonoscopy: Most colorectal cancers can be prevented by getting regular colonoscopies every 10 years or so. They aren’t fun, but they’ll help your doctor detect any small polyps so they can be removed before they turn into a cancerous issue down the road. Start scheduling your regular colonoscopy appointment once you turn 50 years old.