The Critical Medical Tests Every Woman Needs To Know

 By: Doug Hart
We all know that in order to remain healthy we need to do certain things - eat the right foods, exercise every day, take our vitamins, and avoid bad habits such smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. How about going to the doctors for those exams every year? You know you hate it, but this one could really save your life!

So why should a woman go to her doctor for exams? Here are a few important tests that you may already know about.

Bone-density test - When you begin perimenopause the hormones are decreasing, which means that your bones are beginning to slowly decrease in density as well. Yes, nobody wants to think about getting osteoporosis at age 40 but that's the age most doctors recommend starting to think about it. If you get your bone density checked and something is amiss, at least it can be dealt with early. Waiting too long may mean letting damage build up until your bones are fragile.

Mammogram - You probably have been getting these already, but you must know that as you get older they are even more important. Doctors recommend getting mammograms every two years for women over 40, and every year for women over 50. If breast cancer runs in your family, this could very easily save your life.

Cholesterol screening - As we get older, it is wise to take care of the heart and cardiovascular system because of the normal rise in cholesterol at this time. Getting your cholesterol checked is quite painless anyway, the only thing you need to remember is you must fast for 12 hours before the test to ensure accuracy. In this test your LDL (bad cholesterol) and ratio to HDL (good cholesterol) are compared, and also your triglycerides are measured. If any of these are too far out of balance your doctor may put you on medication such as a "statin" drug, to lower your levels.

Hormone screening - This is reserved for when a woman begins to start noticing the symptoms of menopause, and your doctor will probably suggest it to be sure that is the case. In order to find out if your hormones, especially estrogen are in decline, a blood test is given which is then analyzed. This will be used to find out how much Estradiol (the active form of estrogen) is in the blood, to determine a course of action. Since every woman's body is different, there is no sure way to tell exactly when a woman is really starting menopause. This test is a good indicator though, and it can also eliminate other possible reasons you are having symptoms of menopause, such as thyroid problems or even cancer. If your Estradiol levels are significantly below the normal 90 pg/ml level then you more than likely are beginning menopause.

Pap smear - Every woman should know by now how important the pap smear is but it bears repeating. Having a gynecological exam every year to make sure that the uterus, cervix, vaginal tissue and breasts are completely normal is of utmost importance to rule out cancer. As uncomfortable as they are, nearly every woman knows someone that has gone through the life-changing experience of getting cancer, and finding out early is nearly always the difference in saving a life.

The bottom line is, to stay healthy you must do certain things. Some you must do every day, others not so often, but make time for these tests so you can spend a long and healthy life with your loved ones.
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