Medical Tests Every Woman Should Have and When

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Women all over the world have a longer life expectancy than men, according to the World Health Organization. It’s no different in the United States, where the average life expectancy at birth for women is 81.1 years compared with 76.1 years for men.

One reason why this is so is that women are generally more mindful about their health than men, are more likely to see a doctor, and are more forthcoming about problematic symptoms.

24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of examinations every woman should have and when, using sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Breastcancer.org, and the National Cancer Institute.

Women are more likely than men to have chronic pain, suffer from depression, develop an eating disorder, have a dysfunctional thyroid, and develop certain types of cancer.

Women also need to consider issues related to fertility and their reproductive systems. Hormone levels change as women age, adding to potential health concerns. Eating healthful foods, maintaining a healthy weight, and being active can all help lower the risk of diseases such as diabetes.


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Mammogram

A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. These pictures are used to test and diagnose breast cancer. Mammograms are recommended annually.

In 2016, the latest year for available data, there were 245,299 new cases of female breast cancer, or 124 new cases for every 100,000 people — the highest incidence of all cancer types.


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Estrogen level test

Estrogen tests help doctors detect fetal birth defects and check for tumors of the ovaries, particularly in young girls and older women. Estrogen level screenings are also used to monitor fertility treatments.


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Pap smear

A pap smear, also known as a pap test, is a screening for detecting cervical cancer in women. For women ages 21 to 65, this test is recommended every three years.

The National Cancer Institute estimates 13,170 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed and 4,250 cervical cancer-related deaths will occur in the United States by the end of 2019.


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Bone density test

A bone density test determines whether you have osteoporosis, a disorder characterized by fragile bones that are more likely to break. The test uses X-rays to measure the number of grams of calcium and other bone minerals present in a bone. Health plans will usually pay for the test every two years.


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Cholesterol screening

Cholesterol screenings, or lipid profiles, are blood tests that gauge the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. The screenings help determine your risk of plaque buildup in your arteries that can lead to blocked arteries. Adults over 18 years old should have their cholesterol checked every five years.

Women are advised to begin routine cholesterol screening by age 45 or younger. Women diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure should check cholesterol levels every year. Nearly one-third of women over age 20 have high cholesterol or more than 36 million women.


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Blood glucose test

This test measures the glucose levels in your blood. Glucose is a type of sugar and is your body’s main source of energy. High blood glucose levels, or hyperglycemia, may be a sign of diabetes, which can lead to heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure.

Low blood glucose levels, or hypoglycemia, can also lead to problems, including brain damage. If a woman has prediabetes – higher-than-normal blood sugar levels – she should have her blood tested every year.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.6% of women 18 and over had diabetes as of 2017.


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Colonoscopy

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults ages 50 to 75 be screened for colorectal cancer. It is recommended that people who do not have an increased risk of colorectal cancer have the test every 10 years. One of the most common ways to screen for colorectal cancer is colonoscopy.

There were 67,441 new cases of colon cancer reported in 2016, and 24,644 women died of the disease. For every 100,000 women in the United States, there were 33 new cases and 12 deaths.

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