Healthy Aging For Women: Preventative Health Screenings
Screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms, like blood pressure checks and mammograms. You can get some screenings, such as blood pressure readings, in your doctor's office. Others, such as mammograms, need special equipment, so you may need to go to a different office. To help you better understand the array of tests there are, I’ve compiled the following list with brief descriptions of what you need to know. Breast Cancer Ask your health care team whether a mammogram is right for you based on your age, family history, overall health and personal concerns. Cervical Cancer Have a Pap smear every 1 to 3 years if you are 21 to 65 years old and have been sexually active. If you are older than 65 and recent Pap smears were normal, you may not need a Pap smear. Chlamydia and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases Sexually transmitted diseases can make it hard to get pregnant, may affect your baby, and can cause other health problems. Ask your doctor or nurse whether you should be screened for other sexually transmitted diseases. Colorectal Cancer Have a screening test for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be screened earlier. Depression Your emotional health is as important as your physical health. Talk to your health care team about being screened for depression, especially if during the last 2 weeks:
- You have felt down, sad or hopeless.
- You have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things.
- your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medication for high blood pressure,
- you have a family history of the disease,
- you’re obese, or
- you are a minority.
- you use tobacco,
- you are obese,
- you have diabetes or high blood pressure,
- you have a personal history of heart disease or blocked arteries, or
- a man in your family had a heart attack before age 50 or a woman, before age 60.
- You’ve had unprotected sex.
- You have injected drugs.
- You have or had a sex partner who is HIV-infected, bisexual, or injects drugs.
- You are being treated for a sexually transmitted disease.
- You had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.