Six Regular Health Screenings Women Should Consider

Where are you on your health journey, and where do you want to go? The 20th annual National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 12, and is celebrated through May 18, 2019.  The week serves as a reminder for women to make their health a priority and build positive health habits for life. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health leads National Women’s Health Week to encourage all women to make healthy choices for both your physical and mental health. Check out this list of six screenings women ages 18 to 39 should consider to avoid health problems in the future according to the National Institutes of Health.

Blood Pressure Screening:

Women between ages 18 and 39 should have their blood pressure regularly checked once every two years. If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to have your blood pressure checked more often, at least once a year.

Cholesterol Screening:

This screening is recommended for women ages 20 to 45. Women with normal cholesterol levels do not need to have the test repeated for 5 years. Repeat testing sooner than needed if changes occur in your lifestyle (including weight gain and diet). If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely by your physician.

Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear:

Pap tests (or Pap smears) look for cancers and precancers in the cervix. Precancers are cell changes that can be caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). If not treated, these abnormal cells could lead to cervical cancer. Beginning at age 21, women should have a pelvic exam and Pap smear every 3 years to check for cervical cancer. If you are over age 30 and your Pap smear and HPV test are normal, you only need a Pap smear every 5 years.

Dental Exam:

According to the American Dental Association, you should have a regular dental visit at least every 6 months or as recommended by your dental professional.  The preventative benefits range from detecting dental disease to identifying oral cancers. For a full list of the benefits of a routine dental checkup check out this previous story here.

Eye Exam:

Regular eye checkups from an ophthalmologist or optometrist are important screenings. They can detect different eye problems that often have no symptoms. If you have vision problems, have an eye exam every 2 years or more often if recommended by your provider. If you have diabetes you should have an eye exam every year.

Immunizations:

It is important to reduce the spread of the flu by receiving a flu shot every year. Stamps Health Services provides flu clinics for students, faculty, and staff beginning in the fall semester for the Georgia Tech community. If you want to learn more about how you can reduce the spread of the flu or for future clinic dates go to health.gatech.edu/flu.

If you have any additional concerns or questions about these or other screenings it’s important to always bring these up during your office visit. This National Women’s Health Week recommit to your health and consider taking these preventative measures to help live a long healthy life. You can find more tips on ways to stay healthy go to health.gatech.edu.

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Christine Lemaster

Communications Officer II | Health and Wellbeing