Mammography? Check. Pap test? Check. Blood pressure? Check. Hearing and vision? Check.
Screening is an important part of maintaining women's health. According to Dr. Lili Lustig, they can detect an illness when it is the easiest to treat and prevent serious problems. She is a specialist in family medicine at Cleveland University Hospital in Ohio.
To get the right screening, talk to your doctor, who will consider your age, general health, family history, and current health issues.
"Every test has its time and place," Lustig said in a press release from a medical center. "Generally, the faster your doctor can identify and treat a health problem, the better the results will be."
In their twenties, women should have Pap and HPV tests to screen for early or early cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer. (The American Cancer Society recommends that women undergo a Pap test every three years starting at age 21.)
"Women aged 30 to 65 who have a normal Pap test and a negative HPV should be re-examined only every five years," Lustig added.
It is also important to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They may not cause symptoms, which means that you can pass them on to your partner or, in case of pregnancy, to an unborn child.
"All sexually active women between the ages of 13 and 65 should be routinely screened for STDs," Lustig said. "This is especially important for women under 25 and for other women who have had new sexual partners or multiple sexual partners."
If you think you are pregnant, an early screening test will allow you to receive good prenatal care, including eating well and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Regarding mammograms, the current recommendation is to get your first immunization at age 40 and follow up each year thereafter.
At age 18, start checking your skin every month for suspicious moles or color changes, especially if you have fair skin or have a lot of sun exposure. Complete annual skin exams with your dermatologist should start at age 40.
Colonoscopy can detect and eliminate asymptomatic polyps that may progress to colon cancer. You should have your first between 45 and 50 years old. The results will determine when you should have your neighbor.
The general recommendation for bone density testing is to start at age 65. But if you have a slim build or other risk factors, start at age 50, said Lustig.
Take a hearing test every 10 years until age 50, then every year after age 60. Schedule an eye exam at age 18, then every two years until age 60, unless you have a health problem such as diabetes. From age 61, have your eyes checked every year.
Regular blood pressure screening is another important health check. As for cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends a baseline test at the age of 10 years, and then every four to six years in people with average risk of hypercholesterolemia.