Annual Checkups: The Key to Improving Women’s Health

Women health checkups

Health issues can be predicted a lot earlier when tests are taken from time to time. In fact, annual health checkups from reputed labs like SRL Diagnostics can even predict the chances of health problems and risk factors. Preventive measures and early treatment can ensure optimal health. Do not panic that you need to undergo a huge list of tests. The tests might vary based on the age, individual condition and the risk factors associated with it. You can choose a health checkup plan from the insurance company for getting the medical claims.

For women, health checkups that are done annually can be of significant benefits because a lot of women neglect their health. Any pain or discomfort is the initial alarm, but they tend to neglect it due to the overtaxing responsibilities of work and family. It is essential that women undergo tests according to their age groups.

What tests should be done routinely?

  1. Blood counts and Hemoglobin: As per national family health survey, more than half of women in India suffer from Anemia. It is a must do test to check the status of red blood cells and hemoglobin.
  2. Lipid Panel: Like men women are equally susceptible to the perils of cardio vascular diseases like angina, heart attack and stroke albeit later than men. Keeping tab on the blood lipids may allow a stitch in time.
  3. Blood Sugar test: Diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate in South Asia. Having blood sugar tested regularly and taking preventive measure can thwart development of this dreaded disease.
  4. TSH: Women are more prone to developing thyroid ailments than men. A TSH test is the best test to screen for thyroid related conditions.
  5. Vitamin D and Bone Density: Osteoporosis in women is very common especially after menopause. However the effect of low vitamin D start manifesting only after the age of 35. Hence keeping both vitamin D and bone density tests in routine testing plan can warn those who are likely develop the disease.

Some important tests:

These tests are not recommended on yearly basis but they constitute an important part of a woman’s health check up.

Screening for Cervical Cancer: For women who are between the age of 20 and 30 years, the Pap smear and pelvic exams are recommended. This is something that can be done once every 3 years. HPV testing can be done after 30 years and if it is combined with the Pap smear test, the recommended frequency is 5 years, till 65 years of age. If the HPV test is negative in women of more than 40 years of age, this frequency can be even less. If there are risk factors associated, testing for sexually transmitted diseases is a must every year.

Screening for breast cancer: Your doctor will also ask for mammography – a test done for breast cancer when you have a family history of breast cancer. Based on the genes, the risk for different types of breast cancer can vary. When the risk is high, your doctor can send you for a BRCA gene testing and genetic counseling too.

When you are over 40, your doctor will also ask you to check for your blood pressure. When it is more than 140/90, you will have to get it frequently checked, and if less than 120/80, then it has to be checked 2-3 times in a year. When the blood pressure is high, you will have to go for cholesterol tests and tests to identify the risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Tests that are less noticed

Apart from these tests, a few tests which many women do not pay attention to should also be done. Vision and dental tests are never cared for by most the women, and unfortunately, as insurance companies do not cover them, they might be even less worth an attention. If you have diabetes, irrespective of your age, vision tests are highly crucial, as diabetic retinopathy is increasing alarmingly. Even if you don’t wear glasses, a checkup for eyes can tell you if you need to visit the ophthalmologist.  Dental cleaning and examination are mandatory for oral health and should be followed once in a year.

Annual checkups plan should also include sessions that can review your anxiety, depression, and stress levels. After all, it is your mental health and it can significantly control and impact your physical health. Speak to your primary health physician and ask for a list of tests you might need. Starting with your primary health care provider is the right way, as he or she has the best knowledge about you and your health. Pocket-friendly plans will make you smile happily once the tests are done.

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