Health Screening Tests for Women At Different Ages
Importance of Health screening Tests
Health screening tests are done to determine the possible presence of a disease or other health problems. Health screenings often are conducted routinely as a preventive measure, or may be done when there is reason to suspect a particular health problem exists. Women and men have many of the same health problems, but they can affect women differently. Also, some diseases or conditions are more common in women.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)
- Cancer in Vagina or Cervix
- Breast Cancer
- Coronary Artery Diseases (CAD)
- Skin Cancer
- Thyroid Dysfunctions
- Colorectal Cancer
1. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)
Pelvic examination: A pelvic examination is a routine procedure used to assess the well being of the female patients' lower genito-urinary tract.
Purpose: Pelvic exams are useful as a screening tool for sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital warts, herpes, and syphilis. In addition, exams detect some forms of cancer that may affect the genitalia.
- For women after the age of 20, the screening is recommended every year.
2. Cancer in vagina or cervix
Pap test: The Pap test is a procedure in which a physician scrapes cells from the cervix or vagina to check for cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, or abnormal changes that could lead to cancer. It often is called a "Pap smear."
Purpose:The Pap test is used to detect abnormal growth of cervical cells at an early stage so that treatment can be started when the condition is easiest to treat. The test can detect cervical cancer, precancerous changes, inflammation (vaginitis), infections, and some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The Pap test can occasionally detect endometrial (uterine) cancer or ovarian cancer, although it was not designed for this purpose.
- For women between the ages of 20 - 39, the screening is recommended every year until three satisfactory tests have been completed, and then at the doctor's discretion.
- For women after age 40, the screening is recommended every year (or at the doctor's discretion).
3. Breast cancer
Mammogram: A screening mammogram is ordered for women who have no problems with their breasts. It consists of two x-ray views of each breast.
Purpose: The purpose of screening mammography is breast cancer detection.
- For ages 20 – 39, at least every three years.
- For ages 40 – 49, every one to two years (depending on risk).
- After age 50, every year.
4. Heart problems
Blood pressure test:
Purpose: Blood pressure is checked sincehigh blood pressure usually has no symptoms, but it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure.
After age 40, at least every two years
5. Coronary Artery Diseases (CAD)
Purpose: The cholesterol test results help the doctor assess the patient's risk for coronary artery disease (CAD).
- For ages of 40 - 49, every five years.
- After age 50, every five years (or every 3 years starting at age 65).
6. Skin cancer
Purpose: To detect various forms of skin cancers like melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin.
- For ages of 20 - 39, at least every three years.
- After age 40, every year.
Fasting plasma glucose test: A blood test that determines the amount of glucose in the blood after an overnight fast of at least eight hours; a measure at or above 126 mg/dL indicates diabetes.
Purpose: Fasting plasma glucose test is a useful to check the possibility of diabetes.
- After age 45, every three years.
Bone mineral density test: A bone mineral density test is the only way to determine problems with density of the bone. It compares the person's results with the optimal peak bone density for a healthy young adult of that sex.
Purpose:It determines whether you have osteoporosis or are at risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become more fragile and more likely to break.
- After age 50, once as a baseline.
9. Thyroid dysfunctions
Thyroid-stimulating hormone test: The TSH test is often the test of choice for evaluating thyroid function and/or symptoms of hyper- or hypothyroidism.
Purpose:To screen for thyroid disorders
- After age 65, every 3-5 years.
10. Colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer test: Purpose: A Colorectal cancer test is used to detect colorectal cancer, a malignant neoplastic disease of the large intestine, characterized by a change in bowel habits; the passing of blood (melena), which may be hidden initially; and anemias.
- After age 50, every five to ten years.
Fecal occult blood test: A fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is a noninvasive test to detect the presence of hidden blood in the stool (feces).
Purpose: A FOBT is used mainly as part of the colorectal cancer screening process. In some cases, it is used to detect bleeding from an ulcer.
- After age 50, every year.
Some of the check-ups like eye (every three years) and dental exams (twice a year) and hearing checks are recommended for everyone, both men and woman.
Women sometimes neglect their own health and focus instead on their partner's and their children's. But for the family to be fit, it is required that the woman should be healthy and strong. So, it is important that woman be aware of the need of undergoing health screenings as required for their age.
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