5 Medical Tests for Women
Why should I see my doctor ? " I am healthy,I don't have any disease", these are the words commonly used by many women.Generally women take care of everyone in her family,but do not pay much attention to her own health. Health problems may show some signs and symptoms.Sometimes we cannot detect the disease till the last stage.
In recent years with the increase in age women are facing many health related problems.Lack of awareness of some routine medical tests for women may cause a serious damage. "Prevention is always better than Cure", early detection of health issues is necessary.
The 5 important medical tests for women to be carried out regularly are :
1.PAP smear test
2.Blood pressure examination
3.Diabetes screening test
4.Vitamin D test
5.Clinical breast examination
PAP smear test
A Pap smear in medical terms is called as Papanicolaou test or cervical smear test or cervical cytology. It is designed in 1950's to detect early cervical abnormalities, which later become cancerous leading to cervical cancer.
-Not to have sex 48 hrs before the test.
-Should not be in periods.
-No use of tampons or tub bath 24 hours before the test.
-Inform your doctor if you are on contraceptives.
This test should be performed in all women after 20 years who have had sex. It is recommended yearly once.
PAP smear is a simple test.As presumed it is not a painful test.Pap smear is taken as a sample using a medical instrument known as a speculum, which is placed inside the vagina.Patient should lie on a table placing legs on stirrups. A physician takes a sample of cells by scratching some portion of vagina, which then extends on a glass slide stored in a preservator and sent to a pathological lab for further analysis.
If there is any cytological abnormality physician advise further required tests and biopsies.
Blood Pressure examination
Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels, and is one of the principal vital sign. During each heartbeat, BP varies between a maximum (systolic) and a minimum (diastolic) pressure.Stress and narrow arteries are causing heart diseases in women.
-Caffeine and Nicotine should not be taken1 hour prior to examination.
-Alcohol intake should be avoided at least 48 hours before the test.
Cholesterol deposition starts after the age of 20. So, it is recommended in obese persons and also hereditary heart disease cases. BP is checked once in a year and cholesterol once in every 5 years.
Arterial pressure is most commonly measured using Sphygmomanometer, in which the height of a column of mercury is used to reflect the circulating pressure. BP values are generally reported in mm-Hg. Normal range is 120/80mmHg.
Normal range of cholesterol's in blood are :
HDL -above 40mg/dL
LDL- below 100mg/dL
Triglycerides -below 150mg/dL
-BP 140/90 or above is considered as Hypertension.
-Cholesterol above 200mg/dL is a risk factor.
Diabetes screening test
Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced.
No smoking and caffeine intake 12 hours before the test.
-High BP patients.
-Family history with diabetes
-Indicated in polyuria and obese cases
-Screening should be done for every 3 years for no risk people.
Depending on the health of the person 3 types of tests are conducted:
a) Fasting blood glucose test
b) Post-meal blood glucose test
c) Oral glucose tolerance test
-fasting value >110mg/dl
-post meal value >140mg/dl
-If more glucose levels are found further tests like eye,liver,kidney and urine are advised.
Vitamin D test
The 25-hydroxy vitamin D test is the most accurate way to measure vitamin D in the body. The active form of vitamin D helps control calcium and phosphate levels in the body.
Do not eat anything for 4 hours before the test.
- Chronic pain in joints and muscles.
- Weak bones.
- Daily intake of 25mg vitamin D supplements.
- Recommended yearly once for healthy people after 21 years.
Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with antiseptic.The physician apply pressure and make the vein swell with blood,now gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle.These samples are sent to lab for examination.
-Lower than normal levels suggest a vitamin D deficiency.Low vitamin D levels have also been associated with an increased risk of developing cancer.
-Higher than normal levels suggest excess vitamin D, a condition called hypervitaminosis D.
Clinical Breast Examination
A clinical breast examination (CBE) is a physical examination of the breast done by a health professional. Clinical breast examinations are used along with mammograms.
-Should be done 1-2 weeks after menstrual periods.
-Do not use perfumes or deodorants.
-Personal or family history of breast cancer.
-A new lump or change in your breasts and nipples.
-If there is any nipple discharge.
-CBE once in a year after 20 years and CBE along with mammogram once in a year after 40 years.
You will need to take off your clothes above the waist. You will be given a gown to wear during the examination.Your health professional will then examine each breast, underarm, and collarbone area for changes in breast size and color, skin changes, or signs of injury or infection. A clinical breast examination normally does not cause any discomfort unless your breasts are tender.
After the examination, your health professional may teach you how to examine your own breasts (self breast examination) and help you practice doing it.
- A mammogram or MRI or ultrasound may be needed if a lump is found. Breast tissue may be taken out with a needle or through a small cut for biopsy.
-Nipple discharge, especially if it is spontaneous or bloody, may be examined for unusual cells.