Regular health checks are a good practice to know about your health. They can be considered as regular maintenance for the body as you do it for your car.
A regular medical checkup can keep you up-to-date on your body’s condition and any alarming signals can be rectified at an early stage of an illness such as cancer or heart disease.
Following are 10 important tests every woman over 50 years should get done. As 50 is an age where the body can lose muscle mass, menopause occurs, reduced bone density leading to osteoporosis, etc. diseases.
1. Bone Density
Women who have had their menopause or in the phase of it are at a larger risk of porous bone. Bone density is a way to check the conditions of the bone in females.
Menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth demand a lot of hormonal changes and the levels of other important minerals such as calcium is affected the most. After menopause, there are low levels of estrogen hence every woman should undergo bone density checkup.
2. Vitamin D
It goes hand in hand, bone density and vitamin D levels in our body. Vitamin D is an essential precursor in the metabolism part of the calcium homeostasis.
Women over 50 who have their menopause should undergo screening for vitamin D as they are more prone to osteoporosis and bone density loss. A normal reading should be 30-80 nanograms per milliliters.
3. Blood Sugar
Diabetes can hit women at any point in life such as during pregnancy, or under stress too. High blood sugar is a potential risk of diabetes. Diabetes can be best described as inadequate insulin production or when the body’s cells don’t respond to insulin properly.
Insulin is a hormone which regulates glucose in the body and uses it in the form of energy. If this glucose is not utilized, it will stay in the blood, thereby increasing the level of the sugar in the blood.
A fasting blood sugar level and after meal blood sugar is testing to note down the amount of sugar in the blood.
The thyroid gland is situated in the neck which regulates the metabolic rate of the body. Due to many hormonal changes in women’s body, they are at higher risk of thyroid disease.
If the thyroid gland is overactive, the condition is known as hyperthyroidism and with under activity, it is known as hypothyroidism.
The most common test is the TSH test where a blood test is conducted to measure the amount of thyroid stimulating hormone in the blood. Women who are in their 40s and 50s are suggested to take the test in order to address the problem.
5. Eye Testing
Eye testing should be done every six to twelve months. But if you have hit 50 and have a family history of cataract or astigmatism, eye testing should be done. Regular eye testing will detect your spectacle number whether it is farsighted or nearsighted.
A vision testing can detect macular degeneration, retinopathy, glaucoma, and other diseases. If you are diabetic, eye testing is necessary as you are at higher risk of eye diseases.
About 14% of adults between 45-65 years have a hearing problem such as diminished hearing, loss of important conversations, inability to distinguish between two or more individuals.
The conditions can degrade and go unnoticed as many people don’t undergo hearing testing on regular basis as other medical/health checkup.
Tone test is conducted to assess different aspects of hearing. The test determines the working and functioning of inner and middle ear function.
7. Lipid Profile
In the lipid profile, cholesterol levels are checked. Cholesterol is a type of fatty protein present in the blood which can clog the arteries and reduce the blood flow. The amount of excess to normal levels of cholesterol can pose a threat as heart disease.
There are two types of cholesterol-HDL (good fat) and LDL (bad fat). A total lipid profile measures cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
If you have a family history of high or uncontrolled blood pressure or heart diseases, a lipid profile should be done every year or as directed by the physician.
The internal screening of the lower intestine is called a colonoscopy. Colorectal cancer is gradually making in the common types of cancer and if diagnosed at an early stage it can be cured.
A simple test where a small, tiny camera is inserted in the colon area via rectum and visuals from the tests are studied for further investigation.
9. Pap Smear
Even though younger girls are being vaccinated with HPV vaccine many women are being detected with cervical cancer. A Pap test is necessary if you are sexually active.
Women past the age of 26 years are recommended to under a pap smear. A swab is inserted into the vagina to extract cells from the cervix and these cells are examined for the signs of cervical cancer.
10. Physical Breast Examination/ Mammography
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. Physical examination and mammography are some first-line tests for screening of breast cancer.
For physical examination, lumps in breasts, skin changes, nipples discharge are some common ways to check for breast cancer at home. But, it is highly recommended to visit a doctor.
Women over 18 years should undergo a physical examination and if you have a family history of breast cancer, it is better to get tested 5 to 10 years earlier to their diagnosis.