Health Screenings Every Woman Needs and When
With recent cultural advancements highlighting beautifully aging celebrity women like Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Anniston and Halle Berry, women are no longer fearing the aging process. However, as we age, our bodies develop and go through several changes, and it is difficult to know when to begin routine health screenings. In honor of National Women’s Health Week, the following covers critical health screenings all women should participate in and when to do so.
- Check your weight starting in your 20s. Age, inactivity, stress levels and poor dietary choices can cause weight gain which in turn can produce an array of health issues like diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
- Routine pelvic exams and pap smears starting at 21. It is recommended that women should get a pap smear done at age 21 and every 3 years after until turning 29. Pap smears are always important but become even more so during middle age. Pap smears screen for cervical cancer and can help detect cancer early.
- Cardiovascular exams and blood pressure evaluations starting in your 40s. Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in American women. Over time, your risk gets higher as plaque builds up in the arteries causing them to narrow and harden which prevents normal blood flow to the heart. Doctors also recommend women in their 40s get cardio evaluations as well.
- Routine breast exams and mammograms once you hit 40. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers effecting women and mammograms can help catch abnormalities early!
- Bone density evaluation starting at 40. Starting at age 40, women are more at risk to develop osteoporosis A DEXA Bone Density screening every 10 years checks for how strong your bones are.
- Mole assessments starting at 40. As you enter your 40s, your risk for skin cancer increases since you have had longer amounts of sun exposure. However, getting moles assessed is something you can and should do at any age.
- Colonoscopy for women over 50. Hormonal changes occurring in your body due to aging and/or menopause can cause bloating, gas and changes in bowel movements. A routine colonoscopy checks for irregular issues in your digestive system.
- Thyroid exams over 50. Women over 50 should get their thyroid checked at least once every 5 years as thyroid dysfunction is the most common hormonal balance in women.
- Yearly flu shot. While always important, flu shots become more important than ever as we age and our immune systems efficiency decreases.