Contributed by- Dr. Dhrity Vats
In our country, women spend their maximum time in either taking care of her family or her house and with changing times her work as well, forgetting the real essence of her own existence. A woman is the backbone of a family. She has won accolades in multitasking but in the midst of all this, she often ignores her own health. Her motto has always been “family comes first”. Even with the changing times, when females have made confident strides in every walk of life; health often takes a back seat. Looking beautiful from inside and living healthy is often ranked low on the priority list, ignoring health checkups for years on a stretch. This has had a detrimental impact on their health, making them easy preys to many lifestyle diseases.
For those who love the existence of women as their daughters, friends, wives, sisters or mothers, here is a list of few examinations and tests which a female should undergo regularly ones she turns 30. These recommended medical tests by age can be done to screen for a healthy life and each of them has a different use and importance. If screened at the right time, she can be checked to be at a higher risk of some of the life-threatening diseases too.
You might need a doctor’s advice on when and how to get them conducted. A prescription will be needed for few of the following tests.
Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer for women worldwide and Pap smear is the preventive screening test of choice. It is a simple screening test to check if any cancerous cells are present in the cervix. Cervix is the connecting part of the vagina to the uterus. Any female who is sexually active requires this test. Age is no limit but generally it is required for those females who are involved sexually.
What is done – A swab is inserted into the vagina to remove cells from the cervix. The cells are then examined in a laboratory for signs of pre-cancerous or cancerous changes.
When to get it done- Anytime is a right time for a sexually active female.
How often- Once in three years.
Physical Breast Examination
Breast cancer cases has been rising steadily in the last one decade, and is now the most common cancer in women in India, way ahead of cervical cancer. Both, the incidence, as well as deaths, due to breast cancer are more than cervical cancer. Hence, regular physical breast examination becomes compulsory. Females undergo many hormonal changes starting from puberty to menopause, which causes changes in her breasts and glands around them. These changes can be examined physically by noticing it or by touching and feeling the changes. Checking breasts for lumps, skin changes, thickening, and nipple discharge is the best way to be vigilant about preventing breast cancer.
What is done – Palpation of the breast and underarm area to check for lumps, dimpling, pain or tenderness, inflamed skin, and any other changes in the breasts. A nipple exam checking for discharge, crustiness, or blockage. A self-breast examination is also recommended.
When to get it done – Around the age of 18 years and above. Do them about a week after you start your period when breasts tend to be less swollen and tender.
How often – Twice a year is recommended by doctors along with a pelvic examination.
With the increasing lifestyle changes and food habits knowing how much cholesterol is present is a good predictor of your risk for heart disease. 64% of women who die from sudden cardiac death have no previous symptoms of this disease. There are two kinds of cholesterol: HDL [High-density lipoproteins] are the good cholesterol which protect against heart diseases, and LDL [Low-density lipoproteins] or bad cholesterol which poses a risk to your heart. Your total cholesterol reading combines the measures of both and is used as an overall reading. The profile also measures triglycerides, which are fats in the blood.
What is done – Our phlebotomist from Healthians will take a sample of blood from your arms vein and a report shall be sent to you after 24 hours.
When to get it done – Any female who is at a higher risk of developing heart disease due to lifestyle or family history. An overnight fasting sample is required.
How often – If you are at a higher risk of having a heart disease get it done twice a year and keep monitoring your changes in reading.
Indian women above the age of 30 are more prone to Thyroid disorders like Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism. Hence, a Thyroid function Test is one of the most important tests to protect you today and tomorrow. Sudden weight gain or loss, fatigue, excessive sweating, thinning of hair and problem in conceiving are indicators of an underlying thyroid disorder.
What is done –A blood sample is drawn from your arm vein by the phlebotomist. The test reports are given after 24 hours.
When to get it done – Especially recommended for women above 30 years of age showing symptoms of either Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism.
How often – Twice a year if levels are not within the normal range.
One of the important blood tests every woman should have regularly is for Diabetes. Considering your family history, your lifestyle, and your food habits you might be asked to get a blood test done to check the amount of free sugar in your blood. If you have symptoms of being a diabetic you can get yourself tested for sugar in the blood. Diabetes damages a lot of your organs if not tested and evaluated at the right time. Many women get diabetes while pregnant, and it’s dangerous for both mother and baby. And although gestational diabetes goes away in most cases, it raises the risk that you’ll develop regular (type 2) diabetes later in life.
What is done – A sample of blood is drawn from your arm vein by the phlebotomist. The test reports are given after 24 hours.
When to get it done – random blood sample can be given at any time of the day, but if the ranges are high then the doctor would advise for fasting and Glucose tolerance tests which are after fasting of few hours.
How often- Once a year if at a lower risk and regular monitoring for those already tested positive for Diabetes.
Stay healthy. Get tested. Afterall, you are important!