8 Critical Medical Tests All Women Should ConsiderMeredith Carroll
While we all know there are plenty of things we should be doing to take care of ourselves, there are many of us who just don’t. Sometimes because we’re simply too busy, but often it’s because we’re scared of the results.
The thing is, we go to great lengths to ensure the health and happiness of our children, but if we, their moms, aren’t around, our kids will never be at their happiest anyway.
There are some tests that are critical and painless (or relatively so) that can detect things that, if treated relatively early on, can prolong our lives for decades. The tests are simple enough, and knowing the results is nothing short of great power.
Here are medical eight tests that Yahoo Health recommends that all women should consider. As always, please discuss any tests you want with your doctor or another medical professional beforehand.
Mole Screening 1 of 8Many women have had extensive exposure to the sun throughout their life.
Regular screenings are an excellent way to try and combat melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer, as well as basal-cell and squamous-cell carcinomas, which are more common and nearly 100 percent curable when caught early.
Screenings involve having a doctor check all the moles and freckles on the body and scalp and possible measure or remove some if they look suspicious for further testing.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the American Cancer Society recommends professional skin examinations every year for people older than 40, and every 3 years for people ages 20 - 40.
Dental Screening 2 of 8Oral cancer is one of the six most common among adults, and semi-annual dental screenings throughout a lifetime can help detect its presence as well as combat gum and tooth decay. The Oral Cancer Foundation says "historically the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development."
Pregnant women as well as smokers and those who take oral contraceptives are more prone to gum inflammation or disease.
Depending on the results, the dentist might recommend more frequent visits.
Lipid Profile 3 of 8Starting at age 20, all women should have blood drawn for a comprehensive lipoprotein profile to measure the cholesterol in their body. According to the Cleveland Clinic, "cholesterol is needed by your body to maintain the health of your cells. [However], too much cholesterol leads to coronary artery disease."
The results will determine how often blood needs to be drawn for more testing in the future. Cholesterol medication or dietary changes may be recommended based on the results.
Heart-Health Test 4 of 8Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women. The Mayo Clinic contends that "women under the age of 65 who have a family history of heart disease should pay particularly close attention to the heart disease risk factors. Women of all ages should take heart disease seriously."
Tests are as simple as a blood pressure check and having a doctor listen to the heart for murmurs or other irregularities.
Medication may be prescribed for high blood pressure or for an irregular heart beat or palpitations.
Pap Smear 5 of 8WomensHealth.gov recommends all women age 21 and over have Pap tests as well as pelvic exams as part of their routine health care. A Pap test is simply a swab of cells from the cervix taken by a gynecologist that helps determine the possibility of cervical cancer.
The test results plus sexual history as well as information about a woman's history with smoking cigarettes will help determine how often they'll need to be tested after that.
Clinical Breast Exam and Mammogram 6 of 8All women age 20 and up should have their breasts examined manually by a doctor once a year.
The National Cancer Institute recommends mammograms for women age 40 or older every 1 to 2 years — scheduled for right after a monthly menstruation cycle.
Abnormalities discovered might be cause for an ultrasound, MRI or biopsy.
Ovarian Cancer 7 of 8According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no standard or routine screening test for ovarian cancer.
Women with a family history of ovarian cancer or those who experience frequent pelvic pain should get vaginal ultrasounds to look for any abnormalities on their ovaries as often as their doctor recommends.
Colonoscopy 8 of 8The American Cancer Society recommends that beginning at age 50, women should get a colonoscopy every 10 years to check for the presence of colon cancer — unless they have a family history of the disease, in which case they should have it done 10 years before the relative was diagnosed.
The doctor will use a colonscope to check the large intestine for the presence of polyps or other abnormalities.
Polyps found will be removed and tested.
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