We women have a tendency to ignore our health very often, sometimes due to lack of time, many a times due to our lethargy and more often than not, because we don't take its seriously as the severity of the ailment is not known until later.
But as our fitness is directly proportional to the fitness of our families, we have to proactively walk that extra mile and get these essential health checkups done, as a matter of prevention and early diagnosis, than wait for the day when its too late.
This list contains 8 must-do health checkups, which are essential alongwith the routine checkups that your medical center provides you with. These tests must be done bi-annually.
A Test to examine the Breast
Name of the Test: High Resolution Mammography Ultrasound
Detects: A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast that is designed to detect breast cancer. The test uses a special x-ray machine to take pictures of both breasts. The results are recorded on x-ray film or directly onto a computer for a radiologist to examine.
Why should one get it done: It is actually advisable to have a breast check done now, to prevent breast cancer later. Through a mammogram the doctor can have a closer look for breast lumps and changes in breast tissue and the mammogram can show small lumps or growths that a doctor may not be able to feel when doing a clinical breast exam. It is said that mammography" is the best screening tool that doctors have for finding breast cancer, hence, one can take this test. Also, by early diagnosis a woman has a better chance of surviving the disease and more choices for treatment.
Who should get it done: Women above 40 and in the post menopause stage are advised to undergo the test.
Cost: Average range is between Rs 2500 - Rs 3500/-
A Test to check the health of the Cervix
Name of the test: Pap Smear test
Detects: The Pap smear test tracks the health of your cervix. Cervix is the lower part of the uterus opening into the vagina. This test is done to detect if there are unhealthy cervical cells that can lead to cervical cancer.
Why should one get it done: Frequency of sex as well as multiple partner sex can lead to the possibility of the HPV virus entering the female body and affecting the cervix. The symptoms of cervical cancer are not known until several years. By conducting a Pap test, that is examining cells from the cervix one can find and treat changing cells before they turn into cancer.
Who should get it done: Women who are 21 years and older and those who are below 21 years but have been sexually active for a year must get themselves tested. Preferably, the test must be conducted twice each year in a gap of 6 months. Women with multiple sex partners are also recommended to get thePap test done.
Cost: Rs 1500 - Rs 2000/-
A Test to check Anemia, Blood cell count, Hemoglobin
Name of the Test: CBC Blood Test (routine examination) complete haemogram
Detects: The CBC (Complete Blood Count) test gives inputs on various counts relating to the blood, including red blood cells count, white blood cells count and platelet counts.
Why should one get it done: If you feel fatigued and weak even after a small activity, chances are that your hemoglobin count has gone down. If you are constantly being attacked by viruses thereby falling sick, chances are that your WBCs that fight germs have gone down in numbers. Hnce, in order to keep fit and active, one must get the routine CBC checkup done. A high WBC count may signify an infection, while a low WBC count may point toward other problems. A low red blood cell count may suggest anaemia, while a high red blood cell count may include bone marrow disease or low blood oxygen levels.
Who should get it done: While there is no such age limits prescribed for undergoing blood test, it is recommended that you get one done when your family physician recommends. And while undergoing the regular complete body check-ups a blood check proves to be highly beneficial.
Cost: Rs 200 - Rs 300/-
A Check to know the state of your Stomach, Lower Abdomen
Name of the Test: Ultrasound Sonography
Detects: Ultrasound is that imaging technique available to doctors with which a doctor is able to peer inside of one's body to check for anomalies.
* For pregnant women, ultrasound helps in knowing whether the inner mouth of the uterus is closed and if all is fine in the womb.
* Also, with ultrasound to bank upon, we can gauge the shape and size of the uterus and check for abnormalities and fibroid growth.
* Ultrasound helps in gauging possible pregnancies, tubal diseases and ovary growth and diseases.
* Helps in assessing abdominal pain and in diagnosing growths or tumors of the ovary, uterus and fallopian tubes.
Why should I get it done: As Ultrasound gives us a complete picture about the health of the abdomen and the lower abdomen and is especially beneficial to check the state of the fetus, it is highly recommended.
Who should get it done: Those who suffer from regular abdominal pain, pregnant ladies, and women who counter lower abdominal problems
Cost: Rs 150 - Rs 450/-
A Test to check the strength of the Heart
Test: Stress test or Treadmill test
Detects: Stress tests help in determining the amount of stress one's heart can manage, in determining if enough blood flows to the heart muscle, and in checking if there are blockages in the heart.
Why should I get it done: The stress test helps you in knowing if there is adequate blood flow to your heart during increasing levels of activity, in assessing the effectiveness of your heart medications to control various problems, in estimating the likelihood of having coronary heart diseases and in identifying abnormal heart rhythms. Also by going through the treadmill test, you can develop a safe exercise program.
Who should get it done: Those who have foods with high cholesterol levels, with a day schedule that does not involve physical activity and involves working at one place for longer durations
Cost: Rs 1000 - Rs 1400/-
A Test to check the Heart pulse rate and other issues
Name of the Test: ECG (Electro cardiogram)
Detects: ECG tests are conducted to check on the heart beat and to note any irregularities or blockages that may be present therein. This test is used to reflect underlying heart conditions by measuring the electrical activity of the heart. By positioning electrical sensing devices on the body in certain locations, we can get the relevant information about heart conditions. ECG also helps in early detection of the occurrence of a heart attack that may be in the evolving stage. It ensures smooth blood flow to the heart, helps in detecting blood pressure, blood clots, and also inflammation of the heart.
Why should one get it done: It is recommended that you get ECG check ups done regularly as it helps you in knowing if your heart rhythms and underlying cardiac or metabolic disorders. Avoiding diagnosis or delaying it, will lead to fatal implications.
Who should get it done: There is no age limit for taking the ECG test. All women must get this done at least once a year.
Cost: Rs 200 - Rs 500/-
A Test that checks the Thyroid levels in your body
Name of the Test: Thyroid Test
Detects: Many women suffer from thyroid and are unaware of this medical problem. In normal parlance, thyroid generally connotes bloating of the body. However, there are also cases of inverse thyroid where the patient remains thin. Basically this test will detect if you suffer from hyper or hypo thyroidism, or if your thyroid gland is hail, hearty and smiling.
Why should one get it done: As the thyroid gland influences almost all of the metabolic processes in the body, through the hormones it produces, it is essential to get oneself checked for hyper(over production of thyroid hormones) or hypo(underproduction of thyroid hormones) thyroidism and procrastinating the checkup may lead to complications as severe as thyroid cancer and the problems can be well managed if diagnosed on time and treated.
Who should get it done: Women above 25 years of age, and those who have just delivered, and also women in the middle age, can take the test.
Cost: Rs 200 - Rs 600/-
A Test that measures your Bone mass density
Name of the test: Dexa (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) Scans
Detects: Dexa is used for measuring bone mineral density and is one of the most accurate ways to diagnose Osteoporosis.
Why should one get it done? As osteoporosis is a disease afflicting bones causing them to become thinner and fragile, it is important to get your bone health checked. Bones help us in movement and in doing various activities, it is pertinent that they remain fit and healthy. All the more, dexa scans are reliable as these are much more accurate than regular x-rays and require less radiation exposure than CT scans.
Who should get it done: Experts recommend women who are over 65, women who enter the menopausal stage, those women who have any of the risks associated with osteoporosis and those women who sufer from fractures to take the Dexa test so that they get a clear picture of their overall bone health. However, women who are pregnant must avoid this test.
Cost: Rs 2500 - Rs 3500/-