Important Medical Exams that every woman should TAKE!

healthWhen was the last time you paid a visit to the doctor?

Starting from our late teens, to early 30s; it is important that we become active in taking care of ourselves and paying a visit to the doctor is a major step. According to the National women’s health information center, there are health exams that every woman needs; they (exams) range from the trivial ones like a Physical to serious ones like Pap smears and Mammograms.

Below is a helpful guide on important medical exams that women; from their late teens to early 30’s should be aware of.

1. A COMPLETE ‘PHYSICAL’

A yearly physical exam is important in overseeing one’s general health. Most physical exams include checking for:

1. Weight: Stepping on the scale to observe an abnormal weight gain or loss.

2. Blood pressure examination- that should be taken every 2 years beginning from the age of 18.

3. Ear and eye exam

4. Urinalysis

5. Immunization record- that should be updated every 10 years and include:

a. Influenza Vaccine- discuss with doctor from age 18 to 49.

b. Tetanus-Diphtheria Booster: vaccine that should be updated every 10 years.

c. HPV: starting from the age of 18, discuss with doctor

d. Meningococcal vaccine: discuss with your doctor before you start college.

e. Hepatitis vaccinations.

Other examinations that can be included in the yearly physical include:

6. Cholesterol test: Beginning from the age of 20, it is important to inform your doctor about testing your cholesterol level. Monitoring your cholesterol helps to inform you if you are at the risk of heart attack and stroke.

7. Blood glucose test: helps to check for anemia and diabetes.

If it’s been more than a year since your last physical, be sure to visit a doctor and update your record. Yearly physical exams are important and continue to be as we get older.

2. DENTAL EXAM

a. In order to ensure healthy oral health, experts advice on regular dental visits every 6 months or at the first inclination of an abnormal tooth ache, to prevent such conditions from becoming worse.

b. Most often, dental conditions are the first indication of serious health problems, such as diabetes and a possible HIV infection.

c. Along with yearly Dental visits, be sure to follow the general good health care of brushing twice, flossing, and using mouthwash.

3. BREAST EXAM

The most common cancer among women is Breast Cancer. According to the American Cancer society, women between the ages of 20 and 39 should partake in a yearly breast exam. In addition to yearly breast exams, it is important to perform regular breast self-examinations, to notice any change in the breast tissue.

From the ages of 40 and above, women are advised to have a yearly mammogram to detect any suspicious changes in the breast. However if there is a history of breast cancer in one’s family, it is advisable to start the mammograms earlier. Remember that early detection is the key to preventing Breast cancer.

4. GYNECOLOGICAL HEALTH

The Human Papilloma Virus, also known as HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer, and is usually transmitted through sexual activities. Starting from the time you become sexually active, as well as when you reach the age of 18 and above, it is advised that you take a yearly Pap smear examination.

Pap smears are tests that are used to look for changes in the cells of the cervix that show Cervical cancer or conditions that might develop into cancer. An annual pap smear is an important part of caring for the female reproductive system especially during the critical years of reproduction.

Most pap smears are usually accompanied with STD screens; but if yours is not, then you should ask for one.

Some STD screenings include:

– Chlamydia test: Advisable yearly for women between the ages of 18-25 if sexually active and for women over 25 if you have new or multiple partners.

– STD test: both partners should be tested for these, along with an HIV test before initiating sexual intercourse.

5. Eye and Ear EXAM

Eye exam: Between the ages of 20-29, you should have seen an eye doctor at least once and also when you notice any problems with your eyes. As you get older, it is advisable to increase the number of times you see an eye doctor.

Hearing Test: Starting from the age of 18, it is advisable to get a hearing test every 10 years, and at 50, it should be done every 3 years.

In conclusion, between the ages of 18 to 39, be on the look out for the following exams (Courtesy of Stephanie N. Johnson, Ebony Magazine):

* Pap smear and pelvic exam (annually)

* Nonfasting total blood cholesterol (every five years)

* Updated immunizations (every 10 years)

* Clinical breast exam (every one to three years)

From 40 to 50

* Pap smear and pelvic exam (annually)

* Blood sugar test (begin at age 45, then every three years)

* Nonfasting total blood cholesterol (every five years)

* Updated immunizations (every 10 years)

* Clinical breast exam (annually)

* Mammograms (annually)

* Colonoscopy

Remember, the road to good health begins with a healthy attitude, be sure to avoid risky sexual behaviour, reduce your stress level, become more physically active and enrich your diet with the proper nutrients.

Do not wait too LONG to get proper medical attention, why not give yourself the gift of life each year for your birthday.

For more information concerning Women’s health, check out:

http://womenshealth.about.com

http://www.womenshealth.gov/screeningcharts/general

http://www.healthywomen.org/

7 Comments on Important Medical Exams that every woman should TAKE!
  • Bola May 30, 2009 at 12:28 am

    mehn, the long list is kinda scary but it def drives the point home. Im gonna be taking my physicalll

  • Marie June 4, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    interesting article!

  • Nyechi August 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Thank you for the awareness you are creating.

  • Rakiya February 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    yet to have any comment, i am yet to receive awareness on everywoman.

  • Busayo October 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    luv ur article cos its more educating

  • Mary Diwell May 7, 2012 at 3:09 am

    the american obsession with visiting the doctor especially the pelvic exam is almost unknown in europe. Such tests are performed when appropriate or needed. The hangup on visiting the gynecologist just because he is one and it is part of the rite of passage to womanhood is peculiarly american. These tests are not much help in detecting disease but are beloved of the american medical industry.

    • Liz August 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Couldn’t agree more, it is a cruel hoax to suggest these are important exams, they are not recommended at any age in asymptomatic women in Australia. American doctors are obsessed with routine pelvic exams. 1 in 3 US women will have a hysterectomy by age 60, a very high rate and most are unnecessary, so much for your well-woman exams! Great for profits, a lousy deal for women. It also shows a deep disrespect for women, the health, legal rights and bodily privacy. Most of this list is harmful excess…what a horrible way to live your life.

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