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9 Essential Health Screenings For All Women

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health cover, highlights nine essential health screenings for women.

 

“Regular screening may save your life. Early identification of disease enables you to avoid problems. You can enhance your quality of life,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

 

Here are nine essential health screenings all women should have.

Screening for Hypertension

In South Africa, more than one in three persons have hypertension. High blood pressure accounts for one in every two strokes and two in every five heart attacks.

 

Did you know that 120/80 millimetres of mercury are the optimal level for your blood pressure? If your blood pressure is below 120/80 millimetres of mercury, you should have a check-up every two years.

Health experts recommend annual screenings for women aged 40 or older. Screenings are also beneficial for those with comorbidities. For example, obesity increases the danger of hypertension.

Check Your Cholesterol Levels

Examine your cholesterol at least once every five years from 20 years old.  These are the comprehensive tests that determine your level of cholesterol:

  • Cholesterol test
  • Lipid panel
  • Lipid profile

 

A cholesterol test can assist in seeing if fatty plaque is accumulating in your arteries. Fat build-up can result in constricted or blocked arteries throughout your body (atherosclerosis). If you are at risk for heart disease or stroke, discuss it with your doctor. A doctor will let you know how often you should get this blood test.

Pap Smear

Gynaecologists say that you should have a Pap smear every three years. Starting from the age of 21, you should have a pap smear until you reach the age of 65. Your doctor will use a speculum to enlarge the vaginal canal. A small brush will extract cells from the cervix. Doctors examine those cells for abnormalities. The cells could develop into cervical cancer if you are at least 30 years old. You can receive the test every five years to also check for HPV. HPV is an STD linked to cervical cancer.

Mammograms

A mammogram is a screening procedure for breast cancer. It involves squeezing the breast to extract X-ray images. Mammograms have been a controversial issue for a long time. Disputes exist around whether and how often a woman should have mammograms. Health guidelines say that women must have mammograms every two years from age 50.

Examination of Bone Density

Women should begin screening for osteoporosis at the age of 65 with a bone density test. Individuals at risk of osteoporosis should test earlier. Such individuals include those who have fractures or are underweight.

 

During this test, called a DEXA scan, you lie on a table while a low-dose X-ray scanner photographs your bones. This test is done as needed, depending on the patient’s bone density and other risk factors.

Screening for Blood Glucose

At age 45, women should get a blood glucose test every three years to check for diabetes or prediabetes. The average test range varies, but a fasting plasma glucose level of more than 100 mg/dl indicates prediabetes. Whereas a level greater than 126 mg/dl indicates diabetes.

 

If you are obese, have a family history of diabetes, or are a member of a high-risk race or ethnic group, you may want to begin screening sooner. Your physician can aid you in developing a strategy.

Skin Examination

Women should examine their skin at least once a month at home. Conduct a thorough examination of your skin across your body. Looking for new moles or changes to existing moles that may be early signs of skin cancer.

Dental Examination

All adult females should get their teeth cleaned twice a year. Regular dental exams and teeth cleaning help you detect early signs of oral problems.

Colon Cancer Screening

Colon cancer screening should begin at the age of 50. Your doctor or your nearest hospital may provide colon testing. You will either undergo a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is the leading provider of affordable medical insurance in South Africa. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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