If you’re older than 40 and have been blessed with good health so far, then your odds of you staying healthy and vibrant depend on how proactive you are about your health. Getting screened sooner rather than later is the key to protecting your future health. Here are some essential health screenings women over 40 should consider:
1. Yearly eye exams
If you’re over 40, you should have an eye exam every year. An eye exam can detect early signs of eye diseases like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. Early detection is the key to ensuring neither of these conditions are present. Consequently, if any of these conditions are present, treatment is available.. Early detection is critical, so make an appointment with your local eye doctor.
2. Colorectal Cancer Screening
Routine colorectal cancer screening is the best way to prevent colon cancer or find it at an early, more treatable stage. Both men and women should adopt a regular screening schedule, beginning at age 45. After age 45, people should be screened every ten years. The incidence of colorectal cancer is increasing dramatically in younger women.
3. Diabetes screening
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to blindness, limb amputation, kidney failure, and vascular and heart disease. Screening patients before signs and symptoms develop leads to earlier diagnosis and treatment but may not reduce rates of end-organ damage. Randomized trials show that screening for type 2 diabetes does not reduce mortality after ten years, although some data suggest mortality benefits after 23 to 30 years. Lifestyle and pharmacologic interventions decrease the progression of diabetes in patients with impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance.
4. Pap smear and pelvic screening
Cervical cancer is among the leading causes of mortality amongst most women, second to breast cancer. With the incidence of cervical cancer on the rise, getting a Pap smear and HPV tests are strongly recommended. These tests can easily detect the early onset of disease.
5. Mammogram screening
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. In fact, more than 40,000 women die of breast cancer each year. If you’re older than 40 and have had a mammogram, you likely have a low risk of developing this deadly disease. But if your mammogram shows something abnormal, you should get it checked out. This is especially important if you have a family history of breast cancer.
6. Thyroid Screening
The thyroid is a small gland located in the neck that produces hormones that regulate your metabolism and affect many body processes, including brain function. The thyroid is essential because it regulates metabolism. But as we age, the thyroid produces less hormone and may begin to shut down. The good news is that many older women don’t have low thyroid function issues. But it’s critical to get screened because a low thyroid is one of the most common contributors to weight gain, fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
Now that you know what you need to do, let’s talk about what to expect. Most health screening tests take about 60-90 minutes to complete. That includes waiting time, getting ready, and the actual test. If you’re not sure whether or not you need to get screened, talk to your doctor. Your health is wealth.