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Women’s Day 2014: 10 health tests every woman should take

Saturday, 8 March 2014 - 1:52pm IST | Agency: health.india.com
  • March 8 is International Women’s Day. (Image for representational purposes only). Shutterstock

Women in their mid-life tend to juggle several things at the same time, inviting unwanted stress. Being a woman, with growing age, your chances of suffering from several health problems increase. But these health problems can be avoided by simply paying more attention to your health and getting these tests done to ensure you’re in good health always.

1. Pap smear or HPV test: Deaths due to cervical cancer are increasing and women need to be more aware about the need for cervical cancer screening. A PAP smear test is a crucial test that can determine early changes in the cervical region (cancerous and precancerous stages) and hence women should get this test done regularly starting at the age of 21. Thereon, you should get the test done every two years. Women aged above 30 years need to take the test every three years if three consecutive tests show normal results.Even if you are vaccinated against HPV, you should not forget the PAP smear test, especially if your risk of developing cervical cancer is higher. 

2. Mammogram (Breast cancer screening): Breast cancer is now one of the major health concerns in Indian women with 25-35% of women in big cities suffering from breast cancer. Although it is widely that the risk of breast cancer is higher in women who are genetically predisposed to the condition, every woman should regularly undergo breast cancer screening. As pert the American Cancer Society, every women get an annual mammogram done after the age of 40. The risk of breast cancer increases with age and mostly women between 50 and 59 years are likely to develop it. Early detection and treatment help prevent the spread of the disease and boost your odds of recovery. Get one every two years. 

3. Colonoscopy: Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer found in Indian women (9.4% of total registered cases). According the guidelines of American Cancer Society, women aged 50 years should get colonoscopy done. Doctors say that up to 60% of the 50,000 deaths from colon cancer each year could be prevented with adequate screening, such as a colonoscopy.

4. Lipid profile test: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. And one of the early indicators of heart disease is high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Therefore every woman should get lipid profile test done after the age of 40-45 years. Considering the increasing number of women smokers in India and other factors like family history, women should schedule a lipid profile test starting at the age of 20 years.

5. Heart health test (BP, electrocardiogram): Along with a lipid profile test, you should also check for hypertension, another risk factor for heart disease. Women who already have hypertension should get an electrocardiogram done to ensure a healthy heart.

6. Diabetes test: Diabetes is almost an epidemic now and there’s no way anyone can obtain complete protection from developing diabetes. Women should especially worry about diabetes because it contributes to heart disease. Overweight women, pregnant women, women who are physically inactive and women having a family history of diabetes are at a higher risk of suffering from diabetes. It is best to get your sugar levels checked starting at the age of 45 and every 3 years after that.

7. Bone-mineral density test: Women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, especially post menopausal women. After menopause the levels of female hormone oestrogen are lowered in women, which affect the deposition of calcium in bones, leading to osteoporosis. Therefore, a regular bone density test which measures the amount of calcium in bones is recommended to all women above the age of 45 or 50.

8. Thyroid test: Another problem commonly found in women is thyroid disorder. Women are more likely to develop hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer and thyroiditis. Often the main reason for weight gain in women is underactive thyroid. Testing the blood levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) can help your physician to determine whether your thyroid gland is hyperactive or underactive.  Women should get this test done once in every 5 years after the age of 35. 

9. Fertility check: There are several reasons that can affect a woman’s fertility. Many women get married at a later stage of life and wait until their 30s or even 40s to have children. In fact, increasing age is a leading cause of infertility in women. Many young women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) due to hormonal problems also have decreased fertility. Infertility is linked to several other conditions in women and hence women should be aware about hormone tests, ovary function test and ovulating test for understanding their fertility status.

10. Blood test for anaemia: Anaemia is a worldwide health concern, but it is more among women in the reproductive age. Statistics show that anaemia is prevalent in 52% of Indian women population. A simple blood test to can determine whether low hemoglobin levels or iron deficiency is the reason behind your weakness.




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