You're a health-conscious consumer with a busy life to lead, bills to pay, kids to pick up from soccer practice, work deadlines and more. And we know what you're thinking: I don't have time for medical appointments when I'm feeling fine! But the truth is that the busier you are, the less time you have to be sick and receiving routine health screenings is the best way to STAY healthy and keep your life on track.
For your convenience, here is a guide to recommended women's health screenings and when you should be getting them.* Remember that the earlier a potential health issue is spotted, the more quickly and effectively it can be treated.
For Your Breast Health
No one knows your body like you do. Be aware of any changes in your breasts, from a painless lump to different skin texture or a nipple abnormality, and make an appointment to discuss these with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. In addition, for average-risk women, the following should be considered:
- Clinical breast exams may be offered in the context of an informed, shared decision-making process between you and your provider.
- Screening mammograms these are recommended every 1-2 years as discussed with your healthcare provider, starting between the ages of 40 and 50.
For Your Reproductive Health
If you have an OB/GYN physician, nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife who you visit regularly, your gynecologic health screenings should be covered. Your provider will investigate the reason for any symptoms you may be having, and will conduct your cervical cancer screenings.
Women have numerous options for cervical cancer screening, including combined HPV testing with cervical cytology (recommended every five years) or cervical cytology alone every three years, or HPV testing alone every five years. The age to start screening in average-risk women is 21; the age to stop is 65 years, provided that there is a consistent record of negative cytology tests in previous years.
Cervical cancer screening should be discontinued in women who have had a hysterectomy and the cervix removed; however, this recommendation does not apply to women with a history of cervical cancer or significant cervical disease.
Finally, talk to your physician about the HPV vaccine and whether it is recommended for you.
For Your Heart Health
Visit your primary care provider for the following regular tests to help safeguard your cardiovascular health:
- Blood pressure testing annually, beginning at age 18.
- Cholesterol panel a fasting lipoprotein profile (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides) is recommended for women aged 20-44 who are at risk for coronary heart disease. Beginning at age 45, testing should occur every five years.
- Diabetes adults with hypertension or hyperlipidemia should be screened, as well as those aged 40-70 years who are overweight or obese.
The following screenings are also recommended for women to receive at least once in their adulthood.
- Hepatitis C (HCV) one-time screening is recommended for women born in the US between 1945 and 1965.
- Bone density scan the timing and frequency of this testing should be discussed with your provider.
*Your healthcare provider may modify or add to these recommendations based on your medical history and personal risk factors.
Learn more at AdventHealth Tampa.