There are now over three thousand medical tests available for various purposes and diseases. Some are so specific that it's hardly worth your knowing. Physicians, nonetheless, agree that these eight tests are essential for every woman. We'll start with the least obvious so you won't forget the frequently ignored tests
1. Vision Screening
Besides the obvious purpose to protect your eyesight. Vision screening has other benefits. Glaucoma can be detected before visual impairment. Early diagnosis of diabetes and high blood pressure is sometimes made on examination of the fundi (back of the eye balls).
Adults above age of 40 and below 64 should have their eyes checked every 2 to 4 years. People below the age of 40 should have a comprehensive eye examination once and when required.
2. Skin Cancer Screening
This should be performed once every year by your family physician from the age of 18. If doubts arise, this should be repeated once every three years by a dermatologist.
3. Fasting Blood Sugar Test
This is done after an eight hour fast. Elevated levels can alert one of the possibility of undiagnosed diabetes.
Every adult age 45 and above should be screened. If the results are normal, this should be repeated at 3 year intervals. People with family history of diabetes or other risk factors should get tested at a younger age and have the test repeated yearly.
4. Lipid profile
This is a measurement of the total cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (the good cholesterol) and triglycerides (another blood lipid), the low-density lipoproteins (the bad cholesterol) is calculated.
Children with family history of high cholesterol should be checked yearly from the age of 7. Most people should be checked at least once every 5 years even when this is normal of when risk factors are absent.
5. Electrocardiogram (EKG)
This test can be the first clue to heart conditions, even before symptoms appear. Even though women are less frequently struck by heart disease, heart disease is still the number one cause of death in women.
Everyone above the age of 30 should have a baseline EKG.
6. Bone-Density Test (DEXA)
This is a quick X ray of the spine and hip and the gold standard for detecting osteoporosis which affects half of all American women.
This should be done in a woman over the age of 40 and earlier if risk factors are present. If normal, this is to be repeated one year after menopause.
7. Pap Test
This test can be life-saving in detecting cervical cancers at their early stages.
This is for all women under 18 who are or have been sexual active and for all women over 18.
This is an essential component to aid early detection of breast cancer.
Women without family history, in their forties, should get a mammogram every year. An earlier start is recommended in women with family history.
Your doctor's views regarding these tests may vary. You may have to ask before these are ordered. With some insurance plans, they might not be fully covered. Nonetheless, do ask for these tests even if you have to pay for them. Otherwise, you may still need to pay, even much more, in terms of health, wealth and time lost.