While you are seemingly well or maintaining your health, it is simple to disregard the risk of diseases. Until you suffer a symptom you cannot ignore, you usually should not worry about illnesses. That sort of emotion is normal. Yet, it is advised to get regular health screenings and exercise caution given how quickly many diseases and ailments impact people of all ages because prevention is always preferable to treatment. While talking to OnlyMyHealth, Dr Dilip Gude, Senior Consultant Physician, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, explained the kinds of health exams women should get.
Blood Pressure Check
Your blood pressure (BP) should be checked at least three or more times a week after ten minutes of sitting at home in peace. White coat hypertension, where BP is elevated in clinical establishments in anticipation and anxiety of high BP, is very prevalent. To combat this, BP readings at home are reasonably accurate, and one can bring records of the same to the clinician. The opposite of white coat hypertension, masked hypertension, where clinicians underestimate and undertreat a BP patient, is also fairly common. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) for 24hrs or more helps overcome these roadblocks.
Tests for Diabetes
Women have a test for diabetes especially involving Fasting Blood (FBS), Post-Prandial Blood Sugar (PLBS) and Hemoglobin A1C (HBA1C). This is because getting only one of these may misdiagnose you as a non-diabetic.
Also Read: Role Of Diabetes & Blood Pressure In Fertility
Lipid Profile Blood Samples
As per Dr Gude, lipid profile blood samples can usually be taken at any time of the day. The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) goals differ for various individuals, such as those with coexisting diabetes, prior heart attack(s) etc. and need a qualified clinician to evaluate the readings instead of patients' interpretation based on the reference ranges.
Body Mass Index
Body mass index (BMI), a simple yet very effective tool to assess one's future cardiovascular risk and various other metabolic disorder risks, needs to be more utilised. Bringing down one's BMI to less than 23 can even reverse diabetes in about 30% of patients.
The treadmill test (TMT) is a quick yet accurate way to identify one's cardiovascular risk. You can undergo a normal electrocardiogram (ECG) and a 2D echo to check for an early form of cardiac disease. Individuals who cannot walk quickly or perform TMT can instead receive CTCAG. Unlike a traditional angiogram, which is equally effective at detecting lumen obstruction, this offers the added benefit of revealing arterial wall disease and calcium score. Conventional angiograms offer better advantages, are more accurate, and have fewer false-positive results than CTCAG. In the event that stenting is not necessary, these tests are crucial for determining the extent of cholesterol-lowering and the necessity for blood thinners.
Increasing weight may predispose to obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) in many women, for which a sleep study may be needed. This provides the apnoea hypopnea index (AHI), which aids in the diagnosis and precise management of BiPAP and CPAP.
Test for Anaemia
Anaemia is also common owing to iron and B12 deficiencies and needs to be worked up adequately in peri and post-menopausal women.
Test for Heart Disease
Although men under 40 years of age are at high risk for heart attacks, perimenopausal women have an equal, if not slightly higher, risk of heart attacks. Computed tomography (CT) of coronary angio in this age group helps determine the degree of the blockade in the three coronary arteries and also helps find the coronary artery calcium score.
Also Read: How to Spot Someone Having a Heart Attack Around You
Test for Osteopenia
Checking for calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, ad bone densitometry studies, dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans etc., can establish the degree of osteopenia, and some might need zoledronic acid and or vitamin D and calcium, denosumab, magnesium etc.
Test for Thyroid Disorders
Hypo and hyperthyroid disorders are common, and a thyroid profile can help us identify and treat various thyroid disorders, such as Hashimoto's, Graves, etc., in young women.
Test for Urinary Tract Infections
Urine cultures, complete urine exams, ultrasound abdomen, and pap smear tests can help us understand the flora present, guide us on the degree and rates of recurrent urinary tract infections in women, and help us treat the structural cause if present.
Testing for Reproductive Hormones
Testing for oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone and prolactin levels may help us understand their contribution to mood disorders, peri or post-menopausal syndromes etc.
Also Read: 7 Symptoms of Periods Apart From Cramps That Women Should Know
Testing for Cancers
Testing for various cancers in those with strong family history, especially if a few telltale signs of early cancer like a swelling in the breast etc. Apart from monthly self-breast exams, a mammogram may be required, and in case swelling of nodes is present, fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC), and in higher risk patients, whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) scan may be required.
In cases with a high suspicion index for endometrial and cervical malignancies, pap smears, dilatation, and curettage may be required. Screening for all cancers, such as breast, ovarian, endometrial, uterine, cervical, vulval etc., is required, especially when strong family history is present.
Test for Fatty Liver
Most women may slight the presence of fatty liver on ultrasound of the abdomen, but it is a precursor and red flag for many disorders to come. Especially grade II fatty liver requires immediate weight loss measures and some treatment remediation.
Test for Lung Diseases
There may be a slight female preponderance for interstitial lung diseases, allergic airway diseases, etc. Pulmonary function and spirometry tests can help us understand the type and severity before managing them.
Also Read: Lung Cancer: 7 Signs You Need To Know
Nerve Conduction Tests
Abnormal nerve conduction tests can indicate compression syndromes like carpal tunnel syndrome, peroneal nerve compression, Prolapsed, herniated, or extruded intervertebral disc (PIVD) etc.
Test for Allergies
Absolute eosinophil count, serum IgE and allergen profile testing of food and various inhalational allergens can help one understand the degree of allergies and remedies.
Where required, Epley's manoeuvre can help diagnose and treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
According to Dr Gude, uroflow studies can help one understand strictures and other problems, such as recurrent cystitis.
Women should take these expert-recommended tests to prevent the risk of diseases like cancer and heart disease, which can be life-threatening in the long run.
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