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Healthy Aging For Women: Preventative Health Screenings

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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.
Diabetes Get screened for diabetes, especially if:
  • 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.
High Blood Pressure Starting at age 18, have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years. High blood pressure can cause stroke, heart attack, kidney and eye problems and heart failure. High Cholesterol Starting at age 20, have your cholesterol checked regularly if:
  • 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.
HIV Talk with your health care team about HIV screening if any of these apply to you:
  • 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.
Osteoporosis (Bone Thinning) Have a screening test at age 65 to make sure your bones are strong. Overweight and Obesity If you are obese, talk to your doctor or nurse about seeking intensive counseling and help with changing your behaviors to lose weight. Being overweight or obese can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Staying healthy as you age is so important, especially if you want to experience those joyous, happy family times. So be physically active and make healthy food choices. And get tested early, it make a difference. Learn more at healthfinder.gov/prevention. I will be discussing this topic during our upcoming free seminar at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. Women over the child-bearing stage are invited to hear brief, targeted presentations by experts from Baylor College of Medicine about menopause, hormone replacement therapy, alternatives to a hysterectomy, osteoporosis and other important women’s health topics. You’ll even have the opportunity to ask questions and meet the physicians afterwards. Healthy Aging SeriesHealthy Aging: What Women Need to Know Now Thursday, Sept 13, 2012 – 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women 6651 Main Street, Houston, TX 77030 4th floor, conference room A Reserve your seat now! Limited seating available. I look forward to seeing you there!

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Pavilion for Women