Women juggle work and home, and take care of all the needs of their family. But they often neglect their own health. Here is a list of medical tests that every woman should take to stay healthy.
By Dr Anita Suryanarayan
A family can be happy and healthy, only if the women in the household take care of themselves. It is important that all women, after a certain age, go for regular physical check-ups to avoid illnesses and sudden medical complications. This will help detect blood sugar levels, blood pressure, calcium deficiency, thyroid malfunction and other health problems, through simple tests.
Here are 10 important health screening tests that every woman should have to maintain good health —
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. You can calculate the BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height squared in metres. There are multiple apps and online BMI Calculators that can help calculate your BMI. Based on the BMI number, you can also find out what your ideal body weight should be, in relation to your height.
According to the World Health Organization, anaemia is a condition in which the body lacks enough healthy red blood cells and the haemoglobin in the blood is low. A low haemoglobin (HGB) level leads to poor absorption of oxygen in the blood, causing physical weakness or dizziness.
Indian women are often diagnosed with a deficiency in vitamin D and B12. If you are planning for a pregnancy, it is a good idea to check if you are deficient in these vitamins. Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause problems during pregnancy and childbirth. Vitamin D is critical to maintain healthy bones and calcium absorption, as calcium depletion sets in with age.
Check your blood pressure every two years starting at 18. Ideal blood pressure for women is less than 120/80 mmHg (millimetres of mercury). If you are prone to having high blood pressure, it is advisable to do a stress test.
You should get a blood glucose test every three years, starting at 45 years to check for diabetes or pre-diabetes. However, if you have a family history of diabetes, then begin early and get your blood sugar checked from the time you turn 30.
Heart problems are a great source of concern nowadays. Fortunately, there are some foods that might help. Go through this ClipBook to know some heart-friendly healthy recipes.
You should take a test to check cholesterol levels after you are 25 years old, to rule out the risk of heart diseases. The American Heart Association recommends testing for cholestrol once in three years, if the initial test results are normal.
These tests should be done from the age of 21 or even earlier, if a woman is sexually active. Doing these tests will reduce the risk of cervical cancer, which is the second leading cause of death among women.
Consult your doctor for a breast examination once you turn 20. A physical exam, where a doctor tests for lumps and abnormalities should be done between 20 and 40 years. Get a mammogram every one or two years beginning at age of 40, as recommended by the American Cancer Society.
You should get screened for osteoporosis with a bone density test at age 65. However, if you have calcium deficiencies, or a personal or family history of fractures, it is a good idea to get a dexa scan (a special type of X-ray that measures bone mineral density), earlier.
It is ideal to have a colon cancer screening at age 50 and to repeat the test every once in 5–10 years depending on the technique used. With normal results, you will need a flexible sigmoidoscopy (a procedure done to closely examine the rectum and colon) every 5–10 years and a colonoscopy only every 10 years. The non-invasive virtual colonoscopy is another option. Those with a greater risk of colon cancer may need earlier or more frequent cancer screening tests.
The author is Vice President (South India & Sri Lanka), Metropolis Healthcare
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