When you think about establishing healthy habits, staying active and eating better probably comes to mind, but what about routine medical tests? Diagnostic tests and health screenings can detect health problems early, giving doctors the best possible chance to successfully provide treatment. We’re highlighting the 5 most important tests that every woman needs – if you would like to get one of them on the books, click the name of the test and you’ll have an appointment in no time!
it’s estimated that 1 in every 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. While there are many different forms of breast cancer, some more aggressive than others, early detection is always key to successful treatment. If you’re interested in being screened for breast cancer, you should schedule a mammogram. All women should have regular mammograms starting at age 40 – if you have any family history of cancer or BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations, that age drops to 25.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women — and one of the most preventable. The test itself involves taking a small blood sample which your doctor will analyze to determine your cardiovascular risk by assessing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Once you pass age 20, your cholesterol levels should be tested at least once every 5 years, but as you get older the test should be conducted more frequently. Knowing your levels is important, but that becomes especially true as a woman approaches menopause because estrogen boosts your HDL, or “good cholesterol.”
A blood glucose test allows your doctor to screen for diabetes or prediabetes using a blood or urine sample. Diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes, dramatically increases your risk of developing heart disease and boosts your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Once you hit age 40, it’s time to schedule a blood glucose test and continue having them conducted every few years unless you’re overweight or obese, in which case the test should be conducted more frequently. If your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, all is not lost – by working with your doctor and making lifestyle changes, you can take control of your blood sugar and halt the progression of diabetes.
A bone density test is the only test that can detect osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs. As the name of the test indicates, this test assesses the density of your bones to evaluate whether or not you have osteoporosis or an increased chance of a future bone fracture. The test is also used for people who are living with osteoporosis and want to see whether or not their bone density is improving. Osteoporosis is much more prevalent in women than men – it’s time to schedule a bone density test once you hit age 65 or once you break a bone after age 50.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths among women worldwide. When conducting a Pap test, your doctor will take a small sample of tissue from your cervix which will be analyzed and checked for cancerous or precancerous cellular changes. Once you reach your 20’s, you should have a Pap test conducted every 3 years. From age 30 on, continue to schedule a Pap test and HPV test together every five years or a Pap test alone every three years. As with all tests to detect cancer, early detection is vital to successful treatment – make sure to stay on schedule!
Your health is important! At LabFinder, we believe in empowering patients to take control of their healthcare. Sign up for a free account and you can schedule any of the above appointments right from your computer or smartphone, plus, we ensure that the tests are covered by your insurance and promise no surprise medical bills. This Women’s Health Week, take charge of your health and get tested – it could save your life!