1. Dental checks
Good dental health is important from the moment your first baby tooth sprouts, and everyone needs dental check-ups every six months.Gum disease has been implicated in a host of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, say experts. And regular dental check-ups, which involve examining the teeth and sometimes taking X-rays, can keep teeth healthy and spot early signs of decay or any other problems with the mouth or teeth.
2. Eye exams
Maintaining good vision comes down to a healthy lifestyle and your genes, say experts. Do schedule an eye exam once every two years with a qualified ophthalmologist, no matter what your age. Experts say that these tests can also pick up early signs of eye disease including vision loss.
3. Breast exams and mammograms
Both types of screening can detect breast cancer when it is confined to the breast. According to the American Cancer Society, 97 percent of women diagnosed at this stage survive without a recurrence for at least five years.
Get into the habit of doing it daily in the shower and you’ll get used to what’s normal, and the cyclical changes that happen with your period, say experts. Your doctor should do yearly breasts examinations manually when you turn 20, and start on a mammogram if you are over the age of 40.
4. Pap smears and pelvic exams
According to the National Cervical Screening Program, Pap smears should begin when you become sexually active. And you should also have a pelvic exam done to check the size of the uterus, for lumps or bumps on the ovaries, and any sign of endometriosis.
Although many younger women are now being vaccinated against the HPV strain that causes cervical cancer, women who were past the age of 26 when the vaccine was introduced still need to be alert for this deadly form of cancer.
5. Blood pressure
Starting at age 18, every woman needs to have her blood pressure checked at least every two years. This health screening involves wrapping a cuff around the arm and pumping it up tightly. Ideal blood pressure for women is less than 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury).
6. Cholesterol checks
This is a simple blood test that can be carried out at your GP. However, your test will come back as an overall cholesterol figure. The average result is 6, but doctors claim you should aim for 5.5. Smokers, diabetics and overweight people are particularly prone to high cholesterol so need to keep an eye on their cholesterol levels.
Many women get diabetes while pregnant, and it’s dangerous for both mother and baby. And although gestational diabetes goes away in most cases, it raises the risk that you’ll develop regular (type 2) diabetes later in life.
At the start of pregnancy or at age 45 if you have no risk factors or symptoms. If you’re significantly overweight, have high blood pressure, or have other risk factors for diabetes, such as family history of the disease, it’s a good idea to get tested younger.
8. Skin checks
Women should examine their skin every month starting at age 18, and by the time they’re 20, a doctor or dermatologist should conduct the examination during a routine check-up. Women should carefully inspect the skin all over their bodies, looking for any new moles or changes to existing moles to spot the early signs of skin cancer.
9. Hearing test
Hearing loss is a common problem as we age, but according to experts, most people suffer from it for up to 10 years before seeking help. Hearing loss can be gradual and often begins with having difficulty hearing people speak when there’s a lot of background noise. This can affect quality of life and make a person feel isolated.
If you have problems hearing, it could also signify an infection or ear disease, so visit your GP. If you haven’t had a hearing test since childhood it’s worth having one to check everything is as it should be.
10. Thyroid test
Women are at higher risk for most types of thyroid disease, probably because of hormonal factors. If your thyroid is overactive, a condition known as hyperthyroidism, your metabolic rate is too high. Symptoms include insomnia, weight loss, and overactive pulse. If you’re hypothyroid, it means your thyroid is underactive and your metabolism will be slow and sluggish. This usually leads to fatigue, constipation, and weight gain.
The most common test, the TSH test, is a blood test that measures the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone. The desired level is between 0.4 and 5.5. However, many experts believe testing thyroxine (a hormone made by the thyroid) directly with what’s called the T4 test is a more accurate way to assess thyroid function.
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