One of the most important ways for women at any age to stay healthy and live longer is to get recommended screening tests. These tests can detect diseases early (i.e. cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and more) when they are easier to treat.
NOTE: If you have risk factors, a diagnosed condition, or a family history of certain diseases, talk to your physician. The types of tests, when you start testing, and how often you test may differ from the standard recommendations below.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for the following diseases:
1. Obesity: Have your Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated to screen for obesity. BMI is a tool that is used to measure body fat by the weight (in kilograms) to height (in meters) ration of an individual. A BMI of 25 – 29.9 kg/m indicates overweight and a BMI greater than 30 kg/m indicates obesity.
You can use the BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to find your own BMI.
2. Breast Cancer (age 40+): Starting at age 20, the American Cancer Society recommends getting a Clinical Breast Exam (CBE) by your health care provider about every 3 years. Breast self-exam (BSE) is also an option for women starting in their 20s. At age 40, you should have a mammogram every year and a CBE prior to the mammogram.
3. High Cholesterol (age 45+): Starting at age 45, have your blood checked regularly for cholesterol levels (fasting blood test). Talk to your provider about testing earlier if you are younger than 45 and if:
- You have diabetes.
- You have high blood pressure.
- You have a family history of heart disease.
- You smoke. Continue reading “How to Stay Healthy If You’re a Woman”