• Love Your Body: A Call To Health Screening For Women

    A woman’s body goes through different stages of change and development– puberty, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, childbirth and menopausal period. In each of these stages, a woman has to deal with the complexities going on in her body, both physically and emotionally. It is therefore important for every woman to take care of herself.

    Here is a list of age-appropriate health screening for women. The following basic health screening tests are meant to help women stay fit all through her life. “Prevention is better than cure.” This adage never grows old. The only way to prevent major health breakdown is to get screened.

    Check Your Health Status

    Basic health screening for women is composed of a series of tests such as Complete Blood Count (CBC), Urinalysis (UA) and Complete Metabolic Profile (CMP). It is highly recommended for women, at the age of 20, to go through basic health screening at least once every 5 years. At age 40, women should have basic health screening annually.

    Complete Blood Count (CBC) measures the level of red blood cells, white blood cells and hemoglobin in the body. Abnormal increase or decrease of specific blood cell count can be an indication of anemia, infection or cancer.

    Urinalysis is a non-invasive test which requires urine sample. It provides information regarding pH balance, specific gravity and concentration of the urine. Urinalysis is used to detect glucose, ketones, white blood cells, red blood cells and other anomalous substances. For example, high level of glucose in the urine is an indication of diabetes.

    Complete Metabolic Profile (CMP) is a test that checks the level of enzymes and cholesterol in the different organs of the body.

    Love Your Heart

    Heart health screening (HHS) is also part of the basic female health screening. It involves Lipid Profile Test and C-Reactive Protein Test. Lipid Profile Test measures total cholesterol, including high density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides. It gives a definitive evaluation on a person’s propensity to coronary heart disease, stroke and heart attack. The C-Reactive Protein Test is a comprehensive inflammation check for any signs of heart infections.

    Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) test is another heart health status checker. This is a test that checks the level of ALT in the blood. Alanine aminotransferase is an enzyme produced by the liver and the heart cells. An abnormal level of ALT in the blood could mean infection or damage in the liver or heart. Annual heart health screening is recommended for women at age 40.

    Mind That Thyroid

    Thyroid is a gland which produces hormones essential for cell metabolism. The overproduction of thyroid hormones is called hyperthyroidism, and the underproduction of such hormone is called hypothyroidism. For some reason, women are more prone to hypothyroidism than men. Typically, it occurs to women at age 60. But it can also attack younger women during or after childbirth. Therefore, it is highly recommended that pregnant women and women who plan to get pregnant should get thyroid screening.

    Glycohemoglobin is a test to check the sugar level in the blood. Women with family history of diabetes are recommended to get glycohemoglobin screening. Early intervention and healthy lifestyle can delay the onset of diabetes.

    Let’s get Intimate

    Knowing your body gives you the chance to arrest a disease at an early stage. Breast cancer, ovarian cancer and cervical cancer are among the serious female health issues which can be controlled by the following tests:

    • Breast self-examination involves physically examining the areas around the breast, at least once a month, for any signs of irregularities such as lumps, dimpling, nipple discharge, redness and swelling.
    • Clinical breast exam is a physical and visual examination administered by a healthcare professional in a clinic or medical center.
    • Mammogram is a machine-aided breast exam. It is used to take images of the breasts’ inner tissues to detect cysts, calcifications and tumors.
    • Pelvic exam is the physical examination of the internal and external pelvic areas. It is administered by a healthcare professional to check for any abnormalities and infections.
    • Pap smear test is another test performed by a healthcare professional. It involves swabbing the internal area of the cervix in order to get cell samples. The cell samples are sent to a laboratory for testing.

    The female health screening tests mentioned here are of preventive nature. It is very important for every woman to heed the call for early screening. Early screening leads to prompt treatment and cure. Let this be a reminder to all women. Love yourself, take care of your body and live life to the fullest.

    References:

    http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/women/general/screening-guidelines-for-women-of-all-ages.htm

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/medlineplus.html

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/41376718/ns/today-today_health/t/essential-health-tests-women/#.UKLdLeSTwZ0

    http://www.womenshealth.gov/screening-tests-and-vaccines/screening-tests-for-women/

    http://www.medicinenet.com/thyroid_blood_tests/article.htm

    http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=6583

    http://www.healthtestingcenters.com/Complete-Test-List.aspx

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