Women are constantly balancing between home and work and between this hustle bustle, it is convenient and easy to forget to take care of your health. We live in an era where we get our cars serviced regularly in order to maintain them but when it comes to our health, we often ignore it or choose to forgo the necessary health screenings.
As women grow older, they become more predisposed to certain health conditions which if ignored, can aggravate and turn into major concerns later. Getting a test done can offset or prevent the occurrences of these problem by helping you identify symptoms early on.
Listed below are a few tests you should done regularly as a woman:
Pap test or the smear test
A pap smear, also known as a pap test, needs to be taken every three years by women. In this test, the doctor widens the vaginal canal using a speculum and collects cells from the cervix. These cells help in determining cervical cancer which if caught in the early stages is curable. Most doctors recommend taking these tests regularly as soon as you turn 21. In case of older women, a human papilloma virus (HPV) test may also be conducted. It detects HPV which is biggest cause of cervical cancer.
A complete breast examination including a mammogram
With the number of women succumbing to breast cancer increasing steadily each year, a breast examination is one screening every woman should go for at least once a year. A mammogram is a test which screens for breast cancer. Your breast is compressed between two plates to get a clear X-ray in order to check for lumps or tumors. If you get mammograms done in intervals, it makes it easier for your radiologist to compare with your previous X-rays for any kind of changes.
This check is used to detect if you’re at risk for developing any cardiac problems like heart diseases. If you’re under 21, getting your cholesterol checked once in five years is recommended. If you are older, go and get it checked at least once a year. If you learn that your cholesterol is higher than 200 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dl), you might be at a risk of stroke or heart diseases. In such cases, it is best to draw up plans with your doctor.
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea tests
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are sexually transmitted bacterial infections that usually do not have any symptoms but can be detected through a urinalysis. If left to spread, these infections can lead to infertility, miscarriage and other health problems in childbirth and otherwise. As soon as you become sexually active, it is necessary to go for these tests at least once a year as the infections might persist without you being aware of their existence. If left unchecked, you are also at a risk of passing it on to your partner and affecting their health.
Through fasting plasma glucose tests or blood glucose tests, women are tested for diabetes. These tests help in identifying high blood sugar levels which increase the risk of diabetes. If you are overweight and/or have blood pressure level above 140/90 and/or have high cholesterol, it is mandatory for you to get checked for diabetes. Diabetes in some cases, is also genetic and so, if your family has a history, you need to get tested for it when you’re young.
Bone density screening
Even though this test is recommended to women over 65, it is better if you start taking this test when you are younger. After 65, you are at a risk of osteoporosis which isn’t easily detected until you encounter a fracture. Also known as “porus bone”, in this condition you either lose too much bone density or your body doesn’t make enough bone or both. If detected early, this condition can be cured through medication.
This might seem like a bizarre test as it is not gender unique but avoiding this test can prove to be detrimental, not only to your mouth, but also to your overall health. Most dentists recommend that women of all ages (with permanent teeth) should get a dental check-up once or twice a year to remove plaque and bacteria that could lead to tooth and gum disease. These tests also detect any kind of tooth or root decay and remove stains off your teeth. These check-ups are also useful in detecting early signs of mouth or teeth cancer.
Most of these tests mentioned are considered to be preventive hence in most countries allows insurance coverage. However, a few of them might be expensive, but it is important and you should make all necessary efforts to undergo the same.
If you in general enjoy good health maybe your GP will not encourage you to undertake the tests, but a little insistence can do the trick. Remember its always better to be safe than sorry and little extra caution can go a long way.
Written byNiharika Nandi
Niharika Nandi is a media trainee who loves exploring the fields of photography and baking simultaneously. She’s a self-proclaimed professional bathroom singer and believes that caffeine runs through her veins. This adrenaline junkie loves to pen down a million thoughts gushing through her mind at any instant and is very vocal about LGBTQ rights.