For every woman over 50, regular checkups and a few special tests can be one of the greatest gifts you give yourself. By visiting your doctor, you will know a great deal about your health. This happens as your doctor shall be interacting with you, looking at you, and examining specific areas of your body.Whether you are visiting a gynecologist or your family doctor for your routine check-ups it is important that you know exactly what you need — and what to expect. After childbearing age, many women stop going to a gynecologist thinking that they do not require any further advice from the doctor, but the reality is that periodic checkups from your gynecologist can lead to early detection of diseases and timely remedy.
Tests that are important for women above 50 yrs of age:
The doctors make sure a detailed personal history and family history before a general physical exam. General Physical Examination means head to toe examination which includes nose throat, lymph nodes skin, eye, ears, chest, breast, abdomen, rectum, and limbs. Make sure you get a breast exam and rectum examination. The risk of metabolic diseases, diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease and cancer of breast and uterus are higher in women having increased waist circumference. BMI, Blood Pressure comes in the routine examination to rule out risk factors for heart disease.
- Pelvic examination of vagina, uterus, cervix and ovaries for cysts, any tissue growth and tumors are important. A Pap Smear is a must to rule out cervical cells changes or cervical cancer.
- Periodic ultrasound should be done too for any cancer or any abnormality in uterus and ovary.
- Blood investigations include CBC/ CRP for anemia and infections. Blood glucose levels are important with HbA1c for ruling out diabetes mellitus.
- Liver Function tests include protein levels, raised bilirubin levels in galls stones.
- Lipid Profile for the status of good vs bad cholesterol. Excessive levels of LDH supports in making the diagnosis of malignancy.
- Kidney function tests, Thyroid function tests for diseases like hypo and hyperthyroidism.
- Many are suffering from vitamin D3 and vitamin B12 deficiency nowadays, hence making the test essential and important.
- Urine routine tests for urinary tract infections and malignancy.
- Bone Densitometry, Mammography, and ECG to be included in special investigations to rule out osteoporosis, breast tumors, and coronary arterial disease respectively.
- Colon cancer screening is a must on yearly basis.
- Periodic checkups of eyes, dental and total skin examination for cataract /glaucoma, plaque and melanoma respectively.
- Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, Hepatitis B & C antigen screening should be done in special cases. Routine immunization for Pneumococcal bacteria, Hepatitis A