For many Americans, good health is something that is taken for granted on a daily basis. As you’re not in pain and are able to do everything you enjoy, you forget that things could change at any time.
Debilitating diseases, including cancer, are incredibly common and could drastically reduce your quality of life.
Thankfully, while there is no definitive way to completely avoid cancer and other significant diseases, there are ways to catch them early and reduce their impact.
That means getting regular checkups and having tests to make sure that your body is in peak condition.
These tests could help you to catch diseases early and ensure that you like a long, happy and fulfilled life.
However, many women might think that they don’t have the time for these tests, or that they don’t need them.
If you’re a modern woman who’s unsure about the health checks and screenings that she needs, then keep reading. We’ve put together a list of essential health checks that every woman should have at least once a year.
Pap Smear Tests
A pap smear test will check your vagina for abnormal cells, which could be a sign of cervical cancer. Having your private parts examined by a doctor might seem embarrassing, but the smear test itself is very quick and painless. If possible, try to ask for a female doctor to conduct your pap smear to reduce your discomfort. While it might not be the most pleasant test, it will be worth it if the doctor catches cancer early and can irradicate it before it spreads to other areas of your body.
Apart from cervical cancer, a pap smear test can also detect bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections. Both infections are two of the most common causes of vaginitis and can bring uncomfortable symptoms, including thick and sometimes smelly vaginal discharge, itching, burning, and pain. Thankfully, they can be prevented through proper hygiene, such as frequent washing of the vagina, staying away from products with harsh ingredients, and wearing cotton underwear. But in case you get diagnosed with a BV or yeast infection, do not panic. You can quickly treat them by taking boric acid suppositories.
Another potentially embarrassing health check, but one which is crucial, is a mammogram. This is a test where the doctor will check your breasts for any signs of abnormal tissue, which could indicate breast cancer, using a Mammography machine. The process is usually quick and simple, with very little discomfort except for the slight coldness of the machine where parts touch your skin. If you’ve never had a mammogram before, then check out this guide to preparing for a mammogram so that you’re ready and feel calm before the procedure.
A Mole Check
Moles are natural skin marks that are generally harmless. However, if they start to migrate, grow or change, then this could be a sign of skin cancer or other skin conditions. As such, it’s vital that you have your moles checked every year by your dermatologist. They can create a mole map of your body, and review it each year to make sure that your moles aren’t changing or migrating. If they notice a change in your moles, then they can conduct further tests to check if the issue is benign or cancerous and whether the mole needs removing or if you need another form of treatment.
A Weight-In With Your Doctor
While you might weigh yourself at home on your bathroom scales, you should visit your doctor for a weight check at least once a year. They can check your weight and muscle mass and compare it to your height and other lifestyle factors. They can then discuss your weight and diet, and how you could improve them. This approach could help you to ensure that you’re always at the optimum weight. Being overweight or underweight can both cause significant health issues. Obesity is prominent in the USA, and it can cause a wide range of associated health problems. Equally, being underweight can mean that your body doesn’t have the strength it needs to function correctly. Get your weight checked annually to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Blood Sugar Checks
Even if you are the optimal weight, you need to make sure that you also get your blood sugar levels checked regularly. Excess glucose in your blood could cause serious harm to your body and be a sign that you’re not processing it correctly, which could be a sign of diabetes. Low blood sugar levels could lead to low energy and other health issues. Your doctor will be able to check your blood sugar levels and advise you on what you can do if they’re too high or low.
A Dental Checkup
Your teeth are a crucial part of your life, as they affect everything from your confidence, appearance, and ability to chew and ingest food. As such, you need to have a dental checkup at least once a year. Even if you don’t have any dental pain and think that your teeth look healthy, you should still get a checkup annually. Your dentist can check your teeth for even the smallest of cracks and chips and deal with them before they become significant dental issues. A dental checkup usually takes slightly longer than many of the other screenings on this list, especially if you need to have X-rays to assess any internal weakness in your teeth. However, it is worth taking the time out of your life to ensure that your teeth are always in peak condition.
Colon Cancer Screening
Another common type of cancer in women is colon cancer, but thankfully, it’s also easy to screen for. In many cases, you don’t need to get regular colon cancer screens until middle age. Colon cancer screening should begin at around 45, but that depends on your family’s health history and other medical factors. Your doctor will be able to advise you on when you should start getting screened for colon cancer and how often you need to have the procedure done, so that you can rest assured that your colon is in full working order at all times.
Ultimately, it would help if you tried to have all of these health screenings at least once a year. If you notice unusual symptoms or changes to your body between health checks, then visit your doctor as a precaution. They can check if the issue is serious and deal with it quickly to reduce its impact on your overall health. Managing your health and checking for any potential issues might seem like a lot of hard work, but it is worth the effort to live a long and enjoyable life.