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10 Health Screenings Women Should Not Avoid

In addition to a balanced diet, exercise and stress management, it is also important to stay current with any screenings that are available to us for early detection of any disease or illnesses that we may be susceptible to. For women, there are 10 screenings that are recommended:

1. Mammography. The American Cancer Society recommends a yearly screening starting at are also age 40. Self breast exams recommended in your 20’s and 30’s.
2. Pap Test. This screening tests for cervical cancer, and should start as early as age 21.
3. DXA Exam. The DXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) exam tests for osteoporosis. A yearly exam is recommended for women over 65, but younger women with risk factors should also get tested. This exam is crucial as it threatens about half of American women over age 50.
4. Skin Exam. A routine skin exam by a dermatologist or other doctor is recommended in addition to self skin exams. It is important to look for changes in size, shape or color of any marks on your skin.
5. Blood Pressure. Risk for high blood pressure increases as you age, so it is important to have it checked routinely. With complications like heart disease and stroke, this is a simple screening that can make a world of difference, and diet and exercise can play a big role in lowering risk for complications.
6. Cholesterol. High cholesterol can also lead to heart disease and stroke. Looking at the complete picture – HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and Triglycerides – can help your physician define a plan that will work best for you to control your levels, in addition to your diet and exercise. Adults over age 20 should have a blood panel run every 5 years.
7. Blood glucose. With an estimated 1/3 of Americans having diabetes and not knowing it, and diabetes ranking 7th as a cause of death, this screening is becoming more and more important. For those with normal risk, the recommendation is to be tested every 3 years starting at age 45. Weight can increase your risk for developing diabetes, so earlier testing may be essential for some.
8. ELISA. ELISA is the first test for detecting HIV, the virus that causes Aids. While there is still no cure, screening can prevent the spread of the disease and early treatment with anti-HIV medications may help the body fight the virus.
9. Colonoscopy. The screening for colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer in women (after breast and lung), is recommended for those with average risk starting at age 50. Polyps, which can turn into cancer in the future, can be removed during the screening.
10. Eye Exam. A screening for Glaucoma can be included in an eye exam. It’s a disease that affects the optic nerve and can cause blindness. All adults are recommended to have an eye exam that includes a test for Glaucoma every 3 to 5 years.

So today, as you are writing out the infamous to-do list, add a line to call for an appointment if you are due for any of these critical screenings! You won’t regret it!

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