Staying healthy is not the most difficult thing you’ll ever do, but it does take some effort and one part of that effort is getting regular check-ups. The 40’s are usually considered the mid-point in each one’s lives because at this time, each one is likely to suffer career and family stress, with many shifts of hormonal tides that can affect your mental and physical health. It is often said “prevention is better than cure” and health screening for women can prevent major health issues in future.
There are specific times when you should visit your doctor. Below are some screening guidelines for women aged 40 to 64.
BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING
- Check your blood pressure at least once every 2 years.
- If the top number is 130 or greater or the bottom number is 80 or greater, schedule an appointment with your provider to learn how you can reduce your blood pressure.
- If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you should check your blood pressure more often.
BREAST CANCER SCREENING
- The clinical examination of breasts by a qualified physician to detect early lumps is mandatory to detect abnormalities.
- Health screening for women aged 40 to 49 can have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.
- Health screening for women aged 50 to 75 should have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years, depending on their risk factors to check for breast cancer.
- Women, whose mothers or sisters had breast cancer at a younger age, should consider yearly mammograms. They should check earlier than the age at which their youngest family member was diagnosed.
- If you have family members with breast cancer, your doctor will screen you to see if you are at risk for types of breast cancer that are linked to certain genes (BRCA1 or BRCA 2). If you are at risk, your doctor may recommend genetic counselling or BRCA testing.
- If you have other risk factors for breast cancer, your provider may recommend a mammogram, breast ultrasound, or MRI scan.
CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING
Cervical cancer screening should start at age 21. After the first test:
- Health screening for Women aged 30 to 65 must be done with either a Pap test every 3 years or the HPV test every 5 years.
- Health screening for women aged 65 to 70 can stop having Pap tests as long as they have had 3 normal tests within the past 10 years.
- Women who were treated for pre-cancer (cervical dysplasia) must continue to have Pap tests for 20 years after treatment or until the age of 65, whichever is longer.
- If you had your uterus and cervix removed (total hysterectomy), and you have not been diagnosed with cervical cancer, you do not need to have Pap smears.
- Recommended age for cholesterol screening is 45 for women with no known risk factors for coronary heart disease.
- Your cholesterol should be checked every 5 years.
- Repeat the test, if there are changes in lifestyle (including weight gain and diet).
- If you have high cholesterol levels, diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you should be checked more often.
COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING
Screening may also be considered if you have risk factors such as a history of inflammatory bowel disease or a history of colon cancer or polyps.
If you are aged 50 to 75, you should be screened for colorectal cancer. There are several screening tests available:
- Faecal occult blood (stool-based) test should be done every year
- A faecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
- A stool DNA test every 3 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
- Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
You may need a colonoscopy more often if you have risk factors for colorectal cancer, such as:
- Ulcerative colitis
- Family history of colorectal cancer
- A history of growths in the colon called adenomatous polyps
- Visit the dentist once or twice every year for an examination and cleaning. Your dentist will evaluate if you need more frequent visits.
- You should be screened every 3 years and a BMI over 25 means that you are overweight.
- If your blood pressure is above 130/80 mm Hg, or you have other risk factors for diabetes, you should test your blood sugar level for diabetes.
- Get vision screenings every other year if you wear a contact lens or glasses, and you should have an eye examination every 1 to 3 years after the age of 40.
- In case you have vision problems or glaucoma risk, your physician may recommend more frequent eye examination.
- If you have diabetes you should have an eye examination at least every year.
- Ask your physician if you should get a vaccine to reduce your risk of pneumococcal infection (which causes a type of pneumonia).
- You should have a tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine once as part of your tetanus-diphtheria vaccines if you did not receive it previously as an adolescent. You must have a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years.
- You may get shingles or herpes zoster vaccine at or after the age of 50.
- Your physician may recommend other immunizations if you are at high risk for certain conditions.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE SCREENING
- Screening may also be considered for hepatitis C.
- Depending on your lifestyle and medical history; you will be screened for infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV, as well as other infections.
LUNG CANCER SCREENING
You must have an annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) if all of the following are present:
- You are over age 55 AND
- You have a history of smoking history AND
- You currently smoke or have quit smoking within the past 15 years
- All women aged 50 should have a bone density test (DEXA scan).
BONE MINERAL DENSITY TEST
- Women are at greater risk for osteoporosis than men because of declining levels of the hormone estrogen.
- Osteoporosis is a degenerative condition of the bones, where vital minerals like calcium trickle from the bones, making them weak and brittle.
- Women usually have lower bone density than males, and they lose bone mass more quickly which leads to osteoporosis.
- Vitamin D, Serum calcium, Parathyroid and other hormone tests should be done for understanding the bone metabolism and body functions.
- Women are more prone to thyroid due to the major hormonal changes we experience during pregnancy, delivery, lactation, and menopause. Women must get thyroid tests done once in 3 years after the age of 40.
- Weight gain, hair loss, brittle nails and exhaustion are a few of the common complaints of women after 40 years of age. A common reason for this is an underactive thyroid or Hypothyroidism. This gland secretes hormones T3, T4 and TSH, which is responsible for controlling the metabolism of the body. Any alterations could produce serious changes in the body.
- Ovarian cancer is common among women post-menopause. These cancers arise due to changes in DNA cells that lead to the development of cancer. To prevent the risk of ovarian cancer, you should undergo a check-up before reaching menopause age.
- Routine ultrasound, tumor markers like CA1.25, CEA can easily detect the early onset of disease.
- Your blood pressure must be checked at least every year.
- Your physician may recommend checking your cholesterol every 5 years if you have risk factors for coronary heart disease.
- Your height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) should be checked at each exam.
- Your provider may check your skin for signs of skin cancer, especially if you are at high risk. People at high risk include those who have had skin cancer before or have close relatives with skin cancer or have a weakened immune system.
You can book your health checkup by contacting Health Atmos. We cover all states in India and 25+ countries globally. You can choose a home collection service or walk-in appointment at a lab near you. We will be happy to be at your service. Stay Healthy! Stay Safe!