Tests for Women Over 50
Women go through various physical changes in a lifetime which makes her body go through a lot of stress and strain. Pregnancy, childbirth and later menopause cause erratic hormonal changes in the body. Apart from physical health, mental wellbeing is also very important and needs to be taken care of.
Breast examination and mammogram: The risk of breast cancer increases with age and other factors too play an important role. Menopause increases the risk of breast cancer further therefore other than regular self check up at home; a woman should go for a mammogram every year or two especially if breast cancer runs in the family.
Pelvic examination and Pap smear: If you are sexually active it is better to undergo this test to check for any abnormalities such as growths which can be cancerous and other sexually transmitted infections. Cervical cancer is a risk for women of all ages and hence a pap smear is needed every one to three years.
Blood cholesterol test: A very simple test and a great preventive measure to evaluate any chances of heart conditions you may have. This test measures the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Abnormal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides can cause heart attack and stroke. Women today are multi-tasking at personal and professional fronts; leading such a stressful life is putting them at grave risk of heart ailments. After menopause a woman’s risk of heart diseases and stroke increases with age. This test can be done after the age of forty especially by women who have a family history of heart ailments or who smoke and also those who are diabetic.
Colorectal cancer test: Women should undergo tests for colorectal cancer. Consult your doctor which test you should go for. Colorectal cancer is wrongly perceived as a man’s diseases when actually women are affected equally. Polyps grow in more numbers as one ages and heredity factor plays a huge role.
Depression screening: Both mental health and physical health are important for overall wellbeing. Depression is a commonly occurring emotional condition as we age and has to be professionally treated. There can be various reasons for a woman to feel depressed – hormonal changes, physical changes and other emotional issues. If you have been feeling dejected and hopeless regarding the future for a long time it is better to consult a therapist. Mood swings are normal but continued depression needs to be treated before it affects you in a big way.
Dental examination: Women who smoke and have poor dental hygiene put themselves at risk of oral cancer and ulcers. Various studies have also shown a link between heart ailments and poor dental care. A half yearly dental check up will not only save you all costs of dental related procedures but also guard your heart.
Eye exam: With age vision related problems occur and yearly eye exams are necessary to avoid further damage. Glaucoma and other age-related macular degeneration can be prevented by timely treatment. Eye examination can also pinpoint other ailments like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Skin examination: This test acts as a preventive measure for various types of skin cancers and timely treatment. A visual examination of the body is carried out and you need to observe for any changes in mole size and color.
Body weight: Obesity can be an invitation to a lot of life-threatening diseases and hence a moderate body weight needs to be maintained. Calculate your body mass index (BMI) to find out your status.
Blood sugar test: A basic blood test to check sugar levels in the body, a preventive measure for diabetes. Can be done after every three years.
Blood pressure test: Blood pressure needs to be checked once every two years and more frequently, if you are suffering from high blood pressure. High blood pressure can be extremely damaging to your health and needs to be controlled with help of diet, exercise and medicines.
HIV or STD testing: Women leading an active sex life or having multiple partners need to get checked for HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
Osteoporosis and bone density test: Women after the age of fifty or after menopause may suffer from osteoporosis. You will need to undergo the test after every two years. Check with your doctor regarding whether you need to be tested for osteoporosis.
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Jan 30, 2013
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