“In the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.”

We have all heard this warning, but I know so many women who do not put their health in the forefront.  It is hard – there are lunches to make and carpools to drive, work to complete and groceries to buy. But it is important that you take care of yourself by making sure you get these milestone exams in addition or at your annual wellness exam.

Age 20: Annual Exam to include a heart workup. Heart health should be checked every 4-6 years starting at age 20. Cholesterol should be checked, monitored and remedied as quickly as possible if it is high. This annual exam will also allow doctors to keep an eye on your blood pressure and weight.

Age 21: It is recommended that all women get pap smears starting at this age. Sure, it’s a little uncomfortable, but this cervical cancer screening is vital. This is recommended every 3 years (or 5 years after age 30) until you are 65. You should also discuss the HPV test with your doctor or nurse. If you are sexually active, ask your doctor if you should be screened for sexually transmitted infections.

Age 40: Starting in your 40’s, your healthcare provider will perform yearly breast exams – visually and manually. This usually happens at your annual OBGYN exam. Talk to your doctor about when and how frequently you should have mammograms.

Age 50: At 50, you should talk to your doctor about a colon cancer screening. There are several new ways of screening, and you may not be required to have a colonoscopy.

Age 65: This is a good time to be screened for osteoporosis, which is usually done by a Bone Density Tests. This is a painless exam.

Additional Screenings to be Aware of:

BRCA 1 and 2 Genes: If you have family history of breast, ovarian or peritoneal cancer, talk with your doctor or nurse about your family history. Women with a strong family history of certain cancers may benefit from genetic counseling and BRCA testing.

Depression Screening: Talk to your health care team if during the last 2 weeks you have felt down, sad or hopeless and have little interest and don’t feel pleasure in doing things.

Diabetes: Get screened for diabetes if you have high blood pressure or take medication for high blood pressure. If left unchecked, high blood sugar can cause problems with your heart, brain, eyes, feet, kidneys, nerves and other body parts.

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV): Get screened one time for HCV infection if you were born between 1945 and 1965, you have ever injected drugs or if you received a blood transfusion before 1992.

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