Studies have proven that women have a more powerful immune system than men. That said, women are more likely to die from non-communicable diseases than men. This highlights the need for women to get health checkups done at regular intervals.
The health issues women deal with are very different. Hence, they require specific tests for proper diagnosis and management.
These screening tests help in knowing the well-being of various organs of the body. They can also identify certain deadly diseases such as cancer or diabetes early, often before any symptoms appear. This makes treatment easier and increases the scope of livelihood.
Here are a few tests that are highly recommended for women:
Breast exams: Breast cancer is one of the major causes of concern for women of all ages. It is a well-known fact that breast cancer is difficult to treat if diagnosed at an advanced stage. But it can be detected very early by through monthly breast self-examinations and regular mammograms (low-dose X-rays) after the age of 40. Mammography can detect a lump three years before it can be felt!
Cervical cancer screening: Cervical cancer is the easiest and earliest detectable cancer. A regular pap smear and an HPV test can detect changes in the cells that could lead to cervical cancer.
Bone mineral density exam: A dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is an X-ray that is done to measure bone mineral density and detect osteoporosis, especially in menopausal woman.
Blood sugar test: Every woman with a family history of (or risk factors for) diabetes should get her fasting glucose level and HbA1C tests done at least once a year.
Lipid profile: This includes measuring levels of HDL/LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Unhealthy levels may indicate heart disease risk.
Colonoscopy: Over 90% of colon cancer cases are curable if detected early, which can be done through a colonoscopy. It involves the use of a colonoscope, an instrument with a tiny video camera attached to one end. It is inserted through the rectum to examine the large intestine for polyps and other growths that can be cancerous.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and T4 test: TSH and T4 tests measure the levels of these hormones to ensure that the thyroid gland is working properly. They are recommended for women who complain of fatigue and rapid heartbeat, along with frequent weight gain or loss.
Vitamin D (25 hydroxyvitamin D) test: Vitamin D is essential for bone strength and its level gradually decreases with age. A blood test can be done to find out the levels of Vitamin D.
Skin cancer screening: Any abnormality in the skin should not be ignored, and warrants a consultation with a dermatologist for further evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer are proven to be very effective.
HIV screening: HIV can spread from an infected person to a healthy individual when blood or other secretions come into contact with the vagina, anal area, mouth, eyes, or a cut in the skin. HIV screening is recommended since an infected person may remain asymptomatic for a prolonged period.
In addition to these, women should also go for regular blood pressure monitoring, and eye, ear, and dental examinations. These organs are heavily used but least taken care of. Moreover, as our whole body is interlinked, taking care of every part is very important for overall health.
Why these tests are important
It has been rightly said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Health screening tests are very important as they give a broad picture of the health status of various parts of the body. These tests can indicate an abnormality much before it appears as symptoms. This facilitates early control and easy management of the condition.