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What Health Screenings Do Women Need?

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Have these 9 screening tests and exams done regularly to stay healthy

Posted by Temple Health

The COVID-19 pandemic did more than cancel fun activities like weddings, graduations and nights out with friends. It caused many people to put off doctor visits and postpone routine health screenings.

If you’re a woman who hasn’t kept up with routine medical appointments and health screenings, whether due to the pandemic or for other reasons, now is the time to schedule those appointments.

Visiting your primary care doctor, ob-gyn and other medical practitioners helps protect your health. Screenings can pick up small, yet significant, changes in your health long before you experience any symptoms. This helps doctors identify health issues early, when they're easier to treat.

36% of adults delayed or canceled healthcare visits due to concerns about exposure to COVID-19 or because of limited healthcare services during the pandemic.

2021 Urban Institute Report

The following important health screenings are suggested for women at various ages (based on average risk for any particular disease):

1. Mammogram

The American Cancer Society® recommends annual mammograms for women ages 45 to 54. If you prefer, you may begin yearly mammograms at age 40.

Women who are 55 and older should have mammograms every 2 years if prior screenings have been normal or may continue yearly screenings.

2. Cervical Cancer Screening

Pap smears — tests that detect cervical cancer — are recommended every 3 years for women ages 20 to 29.

Women ages 30 through 65 should have a Pap test and a human papillomavirus (HPV) test every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years. It’s also important to schedule an annual exam with your ob-gyn.

3. Colonoscopy

If you’re 45 or older, it’s time to schedule your first colonoscopy, a screening test that detects colon cancer. Colonoscopies are recommended every 10 years if your first colonoscopy is normal. If anything is found during this screening, you may be told to repeat the test more often.

Learn how to prepare for your colonoscopy and what to expect >

4. Bone Density Test

This test helps identify osteoporosis, an age-related disease that weakens the bones, making them more likely to break. A bone density test is usually recommended for women at age 65.

5. Blood Pressure Screening

High blood pressure (hypertension) increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends:

  • If you’re 18 to 40, get a blood pressure screening every 3 to 5 years, as long as your blood pressure is normal.
  • After age 40, schedule yearly screenings.

6. Blood Test

Heart disease, anemia, diabetes and other serious conditions may be detected with a yearly blood test. Knowing basic information about your cholesterol, blood sugar, iron and other readings helps keep you healthier.

7. Skin Cancer Check

Changes in moles or the appearance of new growths may be signs of skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends you get a full body screening once per year.

Read tips on protecting your skin >

8. Eye Exam

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you should get an eye exam:

  • At least once in your 20s
  • Twice in your 30s
  • When you’re 40
  • Every year or two if you’re 65 or older

More frequent eye exams are a must if you wear glasses or contact lenses, or have an eye condition or disease.

9. Dental Exam

Visiting the dentist every 6 months reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Not only do routine dental visits keep your teeth looking their best, but keeping your gums healthy also helps protect you from other health issues that can be affected by gum disease.

Schedule Your Screenings and Exams Today

Seeing your primary care doctor, ob-gyn and other medical practitioners helps protect your health. Screenings can pick up small, yet significant, changes in your health long before you experience any symptoms. This helps doctors identify health issues early, when they're easier to treat.

The ages and frequency suggested for many tests are based on general recommendations for people at average risk of a particular condition or disease. If you're at an increased risk, your doctor may suggest you begin testing at an earlier age or have screenings done more frequently.

Although these screening recommendations are specifically for women, all health screenings listed with the exception of mammograms, cervical cancer screenings and bone density tests are also recommended for men.

Find a Temple physician near you:

Request an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

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