Women’s Health: Preventive Screenings
Women should regularly meet with their doctor to discuss their overall health, ask questions and get preventive care. Preventive screenings help detect disease and illness earlier, often leading to faster recovery or less-severe consequences.
Bone Density Test
This test measures the density of your bones (lower back, hip region, wrist and heel) to help determine your risk of developing osteoporosis, which makes bones more fragile and likely to break. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women age 65 and older be routinely screened. The USPSTF also suggests that routine screenings begin after menopause for women with an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
The American Dental Association recommends regular dental exams to help detect tooth decay and oral cancer. Your dentist can also evaluate your bite and identify problems such as grinding your teeth or issues with your jaw joint.
Eye exams can determine whether you need glasses or contact lenses, and can identify vision problems such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following screening schedule:
- At least once in your twenties, and twice in your thirties.
- A baseline eye exam at age 40, then as doctor recommends until age 64.
- Every one to two years beginning at age 65.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends hearing screenings at least every 10 years until age 50, and every three years thereafter.
To check for skin cancer, your doctor will examine your skin for moles that are irregularly shaped, have varied colors, are asymmetric, are greater than the size of a pencil eraser, or have grown or changed since your last visit. You should have a skin exam every three years between the ages of 20 and 40, and annually thereafter. It is also important to check your own skin once a month.
Blood Pressure Screenings
Healthy women with normal blood pressure (120/80 or below) should receive blood pressure screenings at least every two years.
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