When life gets busy, and you’re caught up in the day-to-day grind, the first person you’re likely to neglect is yourself. Women have a special set of health care matters be on the lookout for, and when we become too involved in everything that’s required of us, important, life-saving screenings are easily overlooked.
At Albemarle Square Family Health, we care about your well-being and want to make sure you’re staying on top of your regular screenings. If you’re due for one now (or overdue!) make an appointment with us today.
Every 5 Years
Colonoscopies to check for polyps or colorectal cancer should be done every two to five years, depending on risk factors.
Bone density scans to check for osteoporosis, which could significantly weaken the bones and lead to serious breaks, should be done every five years.
Every 2-3 Years
Beginning in the teen years, women should have a pelvic exam and pap smear to check for any issues that affect the reproductive system, such as cervical or ovarian cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and other abnormalities. Women under 30 should do this every two years, and women over 30 should do it every three years.
Breast exams should be done by a clinician every three years until a woman reaches 40, and after that, this exam should happen every year, in addition to a mammogram.
Blood glucose tests to screen for diabetes and pre-diabetes should happen every three years once a woman reaches 45, and before that, blood sugar should be monitored regularly if symptoms are present.
Heart health is crucial for women to have checked annually, especially considering that 64 percent of women have no symptoms of heart disease before a sudden death. Your clinician should check your blood pressure, lipid profile, and cholesterol, and if warranted, order an EKG.
Skin cancer, when detected early, can be treated. Many women can’t tell the difference between a regular mole and one that’s become cancerous, and sometimes can’t see parts of the body affected. Your doctor will check your body from head to toe for suspicious growths.
Every Six Months
You might take for granted that your twice-yearly dental exams are just to clean plaque and check for cavities. However, your dentist is also screening for signs of oral cancer, which can be life-threatening if not caught early.
You can perform self breast exams every month to be on the lookout for lumps and signs of breast cancer. Click on this link for a guide from the Breast Cancer Organization, and to learn how to do a thorough exam correctly.
While this is not a screening, it is a self-check for every woman. Be sure you get some form of activity for 30 minutes at least three to five days each week. Take this time for yourself to not only keep your body healthy but to keep your mind clear and healthy, too. Stress is so prevalent in our world, and activity (even light activity) goes a long way to defeating stress.
Find an activity you enjoy, whether it’s a hobby, a book club, or something else, and engage in that at least once a week. You spend most of your week caring for your family, and possibly the people you work with, so taking a few hours just for yourself will help you recharge.
At Albemarle Square Family Health, we take women’s health seriously. Make an appointment for screening today!