Why Health Screenings Are Important
Preventive services may help prevent illnesses, diseases, and other health problems, or detect illness at an early stage when treatment is likely to work best. They’re free when you get care from an in-network provider. If you suffer from fibroids, or have a family member that does, regular screenings are vital to getting care early, when treatment is much more effective.
For most adults, depending on your age, your physician will recommend a screening schedule that includes regular physician exams, body mass index (BMI), skin checks, cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, eye exams, immunizations, and screening for sexually transmitted diseases.
Healthcare Guide for Women
Women’s bodies have special needs and regular trips to your healthcare provider are important. Even if you are healthy, you still should be screened for medical issues. Regular screenings provide a baseline that helps your doctor know if a problem is developing. Many health issues such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol often have no symptoms in the early stages. A simple blood test can check for these conditions.
Here is a list of preventative screenings you should talk to your healthcare provider about.
Uterine fibroids often have symptoms like prolonged menstrual cycles, excessive bleeding, and severe menstrual cramps. Yet, many women develop these benign tumors without experiencing any symptoms. Unfortunately, fibroids can lead to fertility issues, miscarriages, and a hysterectomy. Risk factors for developing fibroids can include:
- Starting your period at an early age
- Having a female family member that developed fibroids
- Having a diet higher in red meat and lower in green vegetables
Fibroids can be diagnosed through a routine pelvic exam. Your doctor may order a blood panel and imaging, such as an ultrasound.
Pap smear tests screen for abnormalities and lower the risk of developing cancer. Women between the ages of 21 -65 should have this test done every three to five years. Pap smear tests screen for abnormalities and lower the risk of developing cancer.
Pelvic exams are important to make certain that a woman’s reproductive system is healthy. During a pelvic exam, the vagina, cervix, fallopian tubes, vulva, ovaries, and uterus are checked. Endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and adenomyosis can be diagnosed by a pelvic exam. If you are diagnosed with uterine fibroids or adenomyosis, it’s important to see an Interventional Radiologist who can conduct further tests like an ultrasound or MRI to locate and treat the condition.
Signs of skin cancer can be seen with just your eyes. Skin cancer is very common, and screening can help find it when it’s easier to treat. It’s important to check yourself monthly; especially in spots you may not see every day, like your back or behind your neck.
More than 37 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more young adults are also developing it. Doctors recommend a Type 2 Diabetes screening for adults 35-70; for individuals who have an increased BMI (body mass index), diabetes blood tests are recommended every three years.
Women between the ages of 40 and 50 are advised to undergo mammograms, but if you have a higher-than-average risk of breast cancer in your family, your doctor may advise having checked earlier and more regularly. Low-energy X-rays are used in mammogram exams.
COLON CANCER SCREENING
Colon cancer now affects a much greater number of people. A colonoscopy is a procedure used to examine the colon and check for polyps or cancer. The health of women depends on this. During the operation, the doctor may remove polyps or other tissue for inspection. At the age of 50, doctors advise both men and women to begin colon cancer screenings.
BONE DENSITY SCREENING
Beginning at age 65, women should have a bone density test. The density of your bones and the likelihood that you may break a bone are both estimated with the use of an osteoporosis screening. Typically, hip and spine bone density testing is advised. Osteoporosis is diagnosed and your risk is assessed using a DXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) system.
The American College of Physicians recommends screening women older than 50 with one or more general symptoms that could be caused by thyroid disease. If you are pregnant, you should be screened for any irregularities.
Be A Fibroid Fighter Health Advocate
It’s important to take care of yourself and be an advocate for your health.
We advise you to track changes in your body and write the information down. It’s important to talk with your doctor, especially if you think you have an underlying issue. Even though many general practitioners will recommend these screenings, your health is your decision. Keeping up to date with which tests you have done is your responsibility; you can take the initiative to complete them.
Fibroid Fighters offers resources that can help you take charge of your well-being. Visit our Resource Center and find helpful tools including a fibroid symptom checker, period tracker as well as a sign-up for our newsletter.