A healthy woman is the Nation’s Pride. Caring for one’s health is an ongoing process and its importance increases with age. We may or may not feel it- but the biological clock is forever ticking. Wisdom lies in keeping a regular tab on one’s health condition, so that abnormalities are picked up soon and nipped in the bud. This Women’s Day lets go through The 5 must do tests in women above 35 years of age.
CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING:
Cancer cervix is the of the most commonest cancers in Indian women. It is virtually a preventable disease owing to the long natural course and the advent of the HPV vaccine. Pap smear can pick up abnormal cells in precancerous stage. Regular pap smear screening 3 yearly or pap smear positive HPV DNA testing 5 yearly is mandatory for women above 35 years of age.
BREAST CANCER SCREENING:
Women must learn the right technique of Self Breast Examination (SBE) from a doctor. SBE should be done monthly post menstrually. One must look for abnormal lumps, discharge or puckering of skin. Regular Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) from a doctor must be done. Ultrasound of breast is a non invasive, radiation free method available for breast cancer screening. Mammography should be done on doctor’s advice.
WORK UP FOR OSTEOPOROSIS:
Women become more prone to Osteoporosis (thinning of the bone due to lesser calcium) after menopause and as they are near to menopause. Estimation of serum vitamin D3, Serum Calcium helps in identifying deficient women. Regular Calcium and Vitamin D3 supplementation may then be provided.
THYROID FUNCTION TESTS (TFT):
Hypothyroidism (deficient thyroid hormone) is a very common disorder in women. Hypothyroidism may be symptom free or may produce subtle symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, hoarseness of voice, tendency to feel cold, period disorders etc. Treatment is very simple and consists of thyroid hormone supplementation, dosage of which is decided according to the TFT results.
BLOOD SUGAR AND LIPID PROFILE:
Lifestyle disorder like diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension have become commoner and are beginning to get detected at relatively younger ages. Syndrome X consists of obesity, Diabetes, Hypertriglyceridemia, Hypertension. Syndrome X is a risk factor for certain diseases like Endometrial (uterine) Cancer. Regular blood tests for Blood Sugar , Lipid Profile etc are therefore important.