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Health Screenings for Women Through the Decades

As noted in our discussion of Men’s Health Screenings, women are often more likely to book annual exams and regular screenings than their male counterparts. Just because women might feel less stigma about such appointments, however, doesn’t mean it’s easy to plan out and stick to such obligations in the midst of a hectic schedule.

Depending on your age and existing health conditions or risk factors, some tests and screenings will become far more important than they would be for women facing entirely different circumstances. With this in mind, we’ve put together a simple guide—broken down by age group, or decades of life—to help you get a sense of which screenings you might want to discuss with your physician . . . if you haven’t already. This is just a general list, most applicable to women of relatively good health for their age, but it’s a good reminder of all the ways we can be proactive and potentially help prevent a more serious health problem before it starts.

Lifelong Exams – No matter your age, these appointments are always worth considering if it’s been a while:

  • Hearing and Vision Exam: Our hearing and eyesight can change more than we think in a short period of time, so an annual exam with specialists in these fields is always a good idea.
  • Dental Care: Keep your smile clean and healthy by visiting the dentist every six months.
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Check: Discuss with your physician how often you should be screened for STDs.
  • Blood Pressure Check: Make sure to get your blood pressure checked every year.
  • Oral Health and Cancer: You should get a mouth and throat exam every year.
  • Breast Health and Cancer Screening: Get this health and cancer screening every year. And don’t neglect to talk to your doctor if you have a family history of cancer.
  • Self-Exams: Every month, you should check for abnormalities and discuss any findings with your physician.
    • Breast: Check for abnormal lumps.
    • Skin: Check for signs of changing moles, freckles or sunspots.

In Your 20s and 30s

  • Health Maintenance Exam: Establish this healthy habit in your 20s and 30s by getting this exam every three years. Your doctor will review your overall health status by completing a physical exam, lab test recommendations as indicated, lifestyle habits, review immunization status, depression screening, and domestic violence screening.
  • Reproductive Health and Cervical Cancer Screening: Start getting this screening at 21, and then every three years or every five if your pap smear is combined with HPV testing.
  • Blood and Urine Tests: Screen for cholesterol levels, diabetes, kidney and thyroid problems by getting this test every three years.
  • EKG: You should get your first EKG at 30 to monitor your heart rhythm to check for any problems.

In Your 40s

  • Bone Mineral Density Test: You should start getting this test when you’re postmenopausal to screen for bone loss.
  • Mammogram: Make sure to get this preventative breast cancer screening every year.
  • Colonoscopy: Start screening for colon cancer when you turn 50, or 45 if you’re Black or African American, and continue to get it every 10 years.

Screenings to keep up with:

  • Healthy Maintenance Exam: Keep getting this every two years.
  • Blood and Urine Test: You should get this every two years.
  • EKG: You should get an EKG every four years.

In Your 50s, 60s and 70s

  • Lung Cancer Screening: If you smoked a pack or more for 30 years and quit within the last 15 years, talk with your physician about getting this screening.

Screenings to keep up with:

  • Health Maintenance Exam: You should start getting this every year, instead of the every-three-year habit you started in your 20s or 30s.
  • Blood and Urine Tests: You should get this test every year.
  • Bone Mineral Density Test: Talk with your physician about how often you should get this test.
  • Mammogram: Keep getting a mammogram every year.
  • Colonoscopy: You should get a colonoscopy every 10 years.

If you have questions about scheduling a screening, or what type of screening you might need, please contact us at Southeastern Med today.