When women should be screened for various conditions and diseases

Womens Expo - When women should be screened for various conditions and diseases

Preventive care is a key component of an effective health care regimen. Preventive care is not a one-size-fits-all approach, as various factors will influence what an individual should be doing at any given moment to ensure his or her overall health. Age, medical history and family history are three factors that could influence a preventive care regimen. Gender is another variable that affects preventive care, and women should know that screening guidelines for various conditions and diseases could be different for them than they are for men. Women’s personal medical histories could affect how often they should be screened for various conditions, but these screening recommendations from the United States Preventive Services Task Force can serve as a guideline for women.

• Blood pressure: Blood pressure should be checked at least once every two years if women are considered to be in a healthy range (under 120/80) or annually if they are above normal (between 120/80 and 139/89).

• Bone density: Women should get a bone density test at least once upon turning 65. Women younger than 65 can speak with their physicians if they want the test.

• Breast cancer: The USPSTF recommends women between the ages of 50 and 74 schedule a mammogram every two years. Women 75 and older can discuss if the test is still necessary after age 74.

• Cervical cancer: Women between the ages of 21 and 65 who have a cervix should receive a Pap test every three years. Upon turning 30, a Pap test and an HPV test every five years is an option. Women over 65 can discuss if they need to continue receiving a Pap test with their physicians.

• Colorectal cancer: Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for women between the ages of 50 and 75. Women can discuss which test to get with their physicians, who also can inform them what to do after turning 75.

• Diabetes: Women whose blood pressure is higher than 135/80 should be tested for diabetes. Women who take medication for high blood pressure also should be tested.

• HIV/AIDS: Women should be tested for HIV/AIDS at least once after age 20 or earlier if they are high risk for HIV.

• Lipid profile: The USPSTF recommends a routine lipid profile starting at age 20 for women who are at increased risk for heart disease.

• Lung cancer: Women with a history of smoking should receive annual testing with low-dose computed tomography between ages 55 and 80. This includes women who have quit smoking within the last 15 years.

• STDs: Women who are sexually active or pregnant should be tested annually for chlamydia through age 24. Annual tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis should continue after age 25 for women who are at increased risk for an STD. Women can discuss the risk factors with their physicians.