Have you ever used one of these excuses to avoid making an appointment for a checkup?
“I’m don’t have anything wrong with me. I feel great! Why do I need a checkup?”
“I just don’t have time for a checkup. I barely have enough time to get everything done now.”
“I’ll start getting regular checkups when I get old”.
Did you know that getting a checkup every year after your 18th birthday may increase your life expectancy? That’s because a checkup can detect many disorders and diseases in their earliest stages. Treatment started as soon as possible not only increases your chance of eliminating the health problem but also provides your doctor insights into other medical issues you could be at risk for developing.
What Is a Women’s Checkup?
During your checkup, your doctor will perform the following:
- Measure your height and weight
- Take your blood pressure
- Listen for heart abnormalities
- Listen to your lungs while you take deep breaths (for detecting fluid in the lungs, asthma or pneumonia)
- Order blood tests to evaluate thyroid and liver functioning, determine blood sugar and cholesterol levels and check your red and white blood cell count (A higher than normal white blood cell count may indicate an infection that is not causing symptoms)
Mammograms and Pap Tests
Mammograms using digital imaging technologies are able to detect even the smallest suspicious areas within the breasts that could be cancerous. Most breast cancers discovered early in their development can be eradicated with medications that dissolve lesions. Breast cancers allowed to enlarge require surgical removal and, in some cases, a mastectomy. Doctors recommend women between 21 and 40 years old get a mammogram every three years. Women over 40 should schedule mammograms every year.
Pap tests detect abnormal and cancerous cells in the cervix. Taking less than 20 to 25 minutes to complete, a Pap test is the best and fastest way to discover and treat cervical cancer. Women between 21 and 30 should get Pap smears once every three years. If you are between 31 and 65, you should get Pap and HPV (human papillomavirus) tests every four to five years. Women over 65 typically do not need to have Pap tests.
You may be at risk for cervical cancer if you take medications containing steroids, have a weaker than normal immune system, have had abnormal results from previous Pap tests or have tested positive for HIV. Depending on these and other risk factors, your doctor may recommend more frequent Pap tests to safeguard your health.
Checkups for Women Include Blood Tests
Produced by your liver, cholesterol is needed to help maintain cellular health and for making hormones and vitamin D. Eating too much food containing high amounts of cholesterol can increase cholesterol levels and promote heart disease. When a heart attack occurs, it is usually due to excess cholesterol clogging arteries and preventing blood from flowing normally to and from the heart. If your blood tests high for cholesterol, your doctor will prescribe medications to reduce cholesterol.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that can impact your health in a number of ways, ranging from kidney disease and glaucoma to an increased risk of stroke and skin ulcerations. Detecting diabetes through testing your blood glucose (sugar) is vital to your overall health because of the many complications arising from untreated diabetes. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will prescribe diabetic medication to regulate your blood sugar levels.
An underactive or overactive thyroid can produce multiple medical problems that are often mistaken for other conditions. Weight gain or weight loss, high blood pressure, trembling and tingling/numbness of your hands are just a few of the symptoms indicating potential thyroid problems easily corrected with medications.
Call Brevard Health Alliance Women’s Health Center Today to Schedule a Woman’s Checkup
We employ board-certified gynecology and obstetrics doctors and licensed advanced practice nurse practitioners to help women of all ages stay as healthy as possible. Brevard Health Alliance Women’s Health Center also provides prenatal/postpartum care, birth control counseling and pregnancy testing. You can either schedule an appointment or take advantage of our walk-in appointments. Call us today at 321-425-4807.