5 Health Screenings Women Must Start at 25
Unlike western countries where preventive health check-ups are a norm, India is yet to catch up to the idea of regular health screening tests. When it comes to women, this practice is almost absent. As we observe International Women’s Day, doctors at Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula are exhorting women to pay more attention to their health.
Once you turn 25, there are certain things that cannot remain in the backseat; your health is one of them. Pre-emptive measures prevent issues from escalating and are life-saving at times. Preventive screening tests help by detecting any potential health problems while they are still treatable. So it is advised to be proactive!
“Your 20s are an important time for your body, and this is when you must start paying attention to the small signs your body is sending. Conditions such as high blood sugar and high blood pressure don’t necessarily show in initial stages, so it’s important to get tested from time to time for them. Women in their reproductive age can experience a series of health concerns such as hormonal imbalance or development of cysts or fibroids in the ovaries. Regular health screenings can also help prevent fertility-related issues later on in life,” says Dr. Shilva, Consultant Gynecology and Obstetrics, Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula
Here’s a list of health screenings women must start at 25:
Breast Examination – Women in their 20s must start the practice of undergoing a clinical breast examination every three years. When they turn 40, an additional mammogram every year must be added to their preventive screening. By catching possible nodes and tumors early on, a screening increases chances of successful treatment and recovery. Breast cancer accounts for a majority of cancer-related deaths in Indian women, because a majority of diagnosis in India take place in stage 3 or 4. The disease can be very aggressive and prevalent among women who have a family history of it, but regular screening significantly decreases the chance of breast cancer deaths.
Thyroid testing – Thyroid dysfunction characterized by hyperthyroidism (over active thyroid gland) or hypothyroidism (under active thyroid gland) are quite common among women. Since its symptoms overlap with many other conditions, often they are initially mistaken as indicators of other health disorders. By identifying and treating the under or overactive thyroid gland, potentially serious health conditions such as arrhythmia can be prevented. Women must start undergoing a thyroid function test every year once they turn 25.
Pap Smear test – Regardless of your sexual activity, women must start having a pelvic exam and pap smear test every year once they turn 21. This helps in early identification of cervical cancer risk. The screening detects inflammation or the presence of abnormal cells in the cervix area, thereby indicating potential signs of cervical cancer.
Blood Pressure – High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, or stroke, so get comfortable with the sphygmomanometer (that pump and arm cuff device). Prevalence of blood pressure related disorders are quite common today. In fact, in recent years, doctors have witnessed a downward shift in the age of incidence of high blood pressure. Starting 25 years iof age, you should get checked every year to make sure your blood pressure is in the range of 120/80. If the reading is higher, you may have to get checked more often and should also be screened for diabetes.
Blood Sugar –1 in 10 women in the age group of 20-30 has diabetes. The risks involved with this disease include heart attacks, stroke, blindness, and problems during pregnancy, and kidney failure. If your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or your BMI is greater than 25, you need to get screened for diabetes so that you can start suitable medication and make certain lifestyle changes to reduce your risks.
Even if you’re in the pink of health, you should visit your doctor your regular check-ups as they help in avoiding problems in the future.