ASK, ANSWER, LEARN
What health screenings do you recommend for your women patients?
Pamela J. Hiebert, MD, FACP answered:A number of health concerns are specific to women. Routine exams and screenings can decrease risk--detecting silent conditions at their earliest and most preventable stages. Recommendations for various screenings depend on a woman’s age and medical and family history. Lifestyle choices factor in, too.
A Pap test can detect pre-cancerous cervical lesions and are scheduled at least every three years. Breast examinations and mammograms are recommended every other year for women over 40; younger women with risk factors may also be screened. Routine bone density screenings for women over 60 can identify the need to treat and monitor osteoporosis, a condition that puts women at risk for fractures. A baseline colonoscopy screening is scheduled after age 50 for colon cancer detection.
Lipid screenings test levels of fats and cholesterol. Routine lipid screening for middle-aged women is important because the test identifies who should take medications or make lifestyle changes to prevent coronary artery disease.
Other women’s health issues such as urinary incontinence, depression or pregnancy can be addressed during regular physical examinations. Be sure to discuss routine health screening with your doctor at your next appointment.
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