Recommended health screenings for women at every age

04-08-15 health screening women
Women ages 18 to 64 should get their blood pressure tested at least every two years, while women ages 65 and older should get tested every year.

Catching signs of disease early – even before symptoms appear – can stop them cold. That’s why it’s critical for women to include regular health screenings in their overall approach to wellness. The following screenings are recommended for women at various ages.

Women aged 18 to 39

Blood pressure: Get tested at least every two years if you have normal blood pressure, i.e., 120/80 or lower. Get tested at least annually if your blood pressure is higher than that.

Breast cancer screening: Conduct a monthly self-exam and contact your doctor should you notice a change. A complete breast exam should be done by a healthcare provider every year for women ages 20 to 40. If you’re at increased risk (i.e., family history of the disease), your doctor may suggest getting screened at an earlier age than those without increased risk.

Cervical cancer screening: If you’re sexually active, get a Pap smear every two years. If you are older than 30 or your PAP smears have been negative three times in a row, your healthcare provider may recommend a PAP smear every three years.

Cholesterol: Starting at age 20, get your cholesterol checked as often as your healthcare provider recommends, especially if you’re at increased risk for heart disease.

Diabetes: Get screened for this condition if your blood pressure is above 135/80 or higher.

Eye exam: If you have vision problems, get an eye exam every two years.

HIV: All pregnant women should be tested for HIV, as should sexually active women. Discuss your risk with your doctor.

Sexually transmitted diseases: If you’re sexually active, get tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and human papillomavirus as often as your healthcare provider recommends. All pregnant women should get tested.

 

Women aged 40 to 64

Blood pressure: Get tested at least every two years if you have normal blood pressure, i.e., 120/80 or lower. Get tested at least annually if your blood pressure is higher than that, and talk with your doctor about possible treatment options.

Bone density test: This examination can detect if you have signs of osteoporosis. Talk with your physician about when you should get a baseline test and if you’re at increased risk for this condition. All postmenopausal women with fractures should have a bone density test (DEXA scan).

Breast cancer screening: Starting at age 40, you should get a mammogram once every one or two years. But do talk with your doctor to determine if this is the right frequency for you, especially if you’re at increased risk for breast cancer.

Cervical cancer screening: If you’re sexually active, get a Pap smear every two to three years.

Cholesterol: Get your cholesterol checked as often as your healthcare provider recommends, especially if you’re at increased risk for heart disease. Women over age 44 should be checked every five years.

Sexually transmitted diseases: If you’re sexually active, get tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and human papillomavirus as often as your healthcare provider recommends.

Colorectal cancer: At age 50, get screened for colorectal cancer. Talk with your doctor about which type of screening test is right for you (e.g., colonoscopy), and how often the test should be done.

Diabetes: Get screened for this condition if your blood pressure is 135/80 or higher. 

 

Women aged 65 and older

Blood pressure: Get your blood pressure checked every year.

Bone density test: If you haven’t already had a baseline osteoporosis test, get this done at age 65. Then talk with your doctor about the results, whether treatment is necessary, and how often you should be tested in the future.

Breast cancer screening: Get screened at least every two years through age 74. Women ages 75 and older should ask their healthcare providers if they need to continue screening.

Cervical cancer screening: Ask your doctor if you need to continue to get Pap smears. After age 65, most women stop having them as long as they have had three negative tests within the past 10 years. 

Cholesterol: Get your cholesterol checked at least every three to five years and as often as your healthcare provider recommends, especially if you’re at increased risk for heart disease.

Colorectal cancer: Get screened through age 75. Talk with your doctor about which type of screening test is right for you, and how often the test should be done.

Diabetes: Get screened for this condition if your blood pressure is 135/80 or higher, or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.

Hearing: Have your hearing tested every year.

Sexually transmitted diseases: If you’re sexually active, get tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and human papillomavirus as often as your healthcare provider recommends.

 

SOURCES:

MedlinePlus.gov (visited March 27, 2015). http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007462.htm

WomensHealth.gov (visited March 27, 2015). http://www.womenshealth.gov/screening-tests-and-vaccines/screening-tests-for-women/


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