May is Women’s Health Month. You take care of your health by regularly exercising and eating a healthy diet, among other things, but what about health screenings? Do you receive periodic evaluations for various health-related issues? Preventive screenings are an important part of health and wellness. In fact, several screening tests are recommended for women to check for potential problems. The following list will cover several screenings, and your doctor may suggest others, as well.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol levels Normal blood pressure stays around 120/80. If your blood pressure is above normal, you should get tested often. Discuss treatments with your doctor if your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If you are at risk for heart disease, ask your doctor to start testing your cholesterol at age 20. Cholesterol levels should be lower than 200 mg/dL.
Diabetes Screening If your blood pressure ranges above 135/80, or if you are taking medications for high blood pressure, you should have a blood glucose test. Over 10 percent of all women ages 20 and older have diabetes.
Cervical Cancer Screening If you are 21 years of age or older, you need a Pap test and pelvic exam every 3 years. This gynecologic cancer ranks third in both diagnoses and cause of death in women.
Breast Cancer Screening You should schedule a mammogram and breast exam every two years, or even annually. Discuss any family history of breast cancer with your doctor. With one-in-eight women at risk for breast cancer in her lifetime, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the U.S.
Colorectal Cancer Screening Generally beginning at age fifty, you should discuss with your doctor which test is best for you and how often you should get screened for colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.
Skin Exam Starting at age eighteen, a dermatologist should examine your skin for early signs of skin cancer. Along with breast cancer, skin cancer is the most common cancer among women.
The importance of health screenings cannot be overstated. Screenings reveal health issues before they become disease, or in the early stages, and are still easily treated. Discuss with your physician your health concerns and questions, and your doctor will prescribe the screening tests you need to keep you healthy. Riverview Regional salutes women, and urges you to celebrate Women’s Health Month by pledging to stay healthy with screenings.