Lisa Conway – FLORIDA TODAY
Q: I’m super busy. What are the important health screenings for women?
A: According to Temple University Health System, there are nine regular screenings recommended for all women. If you are one of the 36% of adults that delayed or canceled appointments during COVID, it’s time to get back on track. February is National Self Check Month!
Note: Some recommendations have changed in recent years.
- Mammogram: The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women aged 45-54. Those with a family history may start annual screenings between 35-40. Women over 55 with normal prior screenings should have mammograms every two years.
- Cervical Cancer Screening: Pap smears detect cervical cancer, and are recommended every three years for women aged 20-29. Those 30-65 should have a Pap test and an HPV test every five years or a Pap test every three years.
- Colonoscopy: 45 or older? It’s time for your colonoscopy. This important screening detects colon cancer. The interval between colonoscopies is 10 years, if findings are normal. Your doctor may suggest more frequent screenings if anything is detected.
- Bone Density Testing: This test helps identify osteoporosis, an age-related disease that weakens the bones, making them more susceptible to fractures. A test is usually recommended for women at age 65.
- Blood Pressure Screening: High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends blood pressure screening every 3-5 years for healthy people between the ages of 18-40. After age 40, have it checked annually. High blood pressure? Your physician will recommend more frequent screenings.
- Blood test: Blood tests detect heart disease, anemia, diabetes and other serious conditions and should be performed (at least) annually. Information about your cholesterol, blood sugar, iron and more can help keep you healthy.
- Skin Cancer Check: New growths or changes in moles may be a sign of skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a yearly body scan.
- Eye Exam: The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests one eye exam in your 20s, two in your 30’s, at age 40, and then every two years. The risk for eye diseases increases with age.
- Dental Exam: Dental cleanings every six months reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Oral health affects overall health.
There’s only one you, so take charge of your health! Got a question for The Experts in Aging? Call One Senior Place at 321-751-6771 or email us at AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.