Screening appointments are necessary for a woman over thirty. Whether you are of childbearing age or not, some screenings can benefit you and help you avoid serious health problems in the future.
What Is The Purpose Of Screening Appointments Over Age 30?
Screening appointments are important because they can help us identify health problems before you or your loved ones experience symptoms, including cancer and heart disease. Screening tests also check for conditions that may not have symptoms (such as high blood pressure), which can lead to serious illness if left untreated. Screening tests are a part of routine medical care and are usually covered by insurance.
What Are The Risks Of Not Getting Screened?
The risk of not getting screened is that you can develop a condition that could lead to serious illness or death. Some examples include:
Cervical cancer. This is one of the most common cancers in women and is often caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). A pap smear can detect changes in your cervix and prevent this type of cancer from developing.
Breast cancer. Breast cancer is another common cancer in women, especially after menopause when hormone levels decrease and breast tissue changes. Mammograms can detect early signs of breast cancer before they become visible on physical exams or imaging studies such as an ultrasound or MRI scan.
Heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Your doctor will evaluate your cholesterol levels during an annual physical exam and may recommend a fasting lipid panel test.
Necessary Screening Appointments
Blood Pressure Screening
High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of death today — yet you may not know you have it until it’s too late. Regular blood pressure checks are important because high blood pressure often has no symptoms until it damages organs such as the heart and kidneys. Blood pressure screenings usually occur during an annual physical exam or a visit for another reason (for example, if you’re experiencing dizziness or fainting). If your blood pressure is high during these screenings, we will follow up with additional testing to confirm our findings and determine whether medication is necessary.Cholesterol Screening
Cholesterol is a type of fat produced by the liver and found in some foods like eggs, meat, and fish (those who follow a vegetarian diet may need additional testing). Cholesterol helps produce hormones and vitamin D, but too much can build up on the walls of your arteries, causing them to narrow or harden, leading to heart disease, stroke, or kidney failure.Diabetes Screening
Women over 30 should get tested for diabetes at least once a year. Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot process sugar properly, which may lead to serious health problems if not treated properly. The National Diabetes Education Program recommends that all adults with a risk factor for diabetes be screened at least once every three years and yearly after age 45 if there is no risk factor.
This includes women with a history of gestational diabetes or who are overweight or obese, have had high blood pressure during pregnancy, have given birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more, or have had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). You should also see your doctor if you have symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, feeling tired all the time, and having blurry vision.
Your thyroid gland controls your metabolism by releasing hormones that help regulate your body temperature, heart rate, muscle strength, hair growth, and energy levels. If your thyroid isn't working properly, it could lead to weight gain, fatigue, and other symptoms. Most people don't have symptoms until their thyroid gland becomes enlarged (called a goiter). Your doctor can perform this simple blood test during your annual physical exam.Dental Exams
For most people, dental exams are a yearly event. But for those over 30, it's important to go twice a year if possible. The reason is that gum disease can be an early sign of diabetes or cardiovascular problems. If you've had trouble with your teeth in the past, it's best to get regular cleanings every six months instead of once a year.Eye Exams
Many eye diseases occur without symptoms until they cause irreversible vision loss or blindness. If there's a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration, ask your doctor about having an eye exam once a year beginning at age 35 (and every two years after age 40). The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you have regular eye exams as part of a complete physical exam starting at age 20 — even if you don't wear glasses or contacts.Immunizations
As you age, your immune system’s ability to fight off infections can decline. That’s why it’s so important to get immunized against the flu and other illnesses at least once a year. Other immunizations that may be beneficial include COVID vaccines and boosters and pneumonia vaccines.Infectious Disease Screening
Women over 30 should have an annual screening test for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) — even if they haven’t had sex recently or don't plan on having it soon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea at least once every year. Women over age 25 should also have annual syphilis testing, but younger women should have this test if they are at high risk for getting infected or showing symptoms of syphilis.Physical Exam
A physical exam helps doctors evaluate your overall health, including checking for signs of disease and infections. Your doctor will also look at any symptoms you have had in the past or present, such as bleeding or discharge from the vagina. The exam may also include measurements of height and weight; blood pressure; pulse rate, body temperature, and reflexes. Women over 30 should check their blood pressure every two years after age 35. Women over 50 should have it checked every year.Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and is often diagnosed in women over 30. The American Cancer Society recommends that women get annual mammography starting at age 40, and continuing until age 75. This can be done as part of a general physical exam or separately by your primary care provider or gynecologist.Cervical Cancer Screening
In addition to yearly mammograms, women also need regular Pap smears annually from age 30 onward. If you have had abnormal Pap smears, you may need to be tested more frequently for cervical cancer. Women who are at high risk for cervical cancer should talk to their doctors about getting tested more frequently than what is recommended above.Skin Cancer Screening
Everyone needs to practice sun safety and wear sunscreen every day! Sun exposure accounts for 90 percent of all skin cancers. While melanoma is more common in men, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is more common in women over 30 because we tend to spend more time outside than men (especially when we're young). The American Cancer Society recommends that all people older than 20 receive at least one full-body skin exam yearly by a doctor or nurse practitioner.Colon Cancer Screening
Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The best way to prevent colon cancer is through regular screenings for precancerous growths called polyps and early colorectal (colon) cancer detection. Screening tests include colonoscopy and fecal occult blood test (FOBT). Women under 50 should have these tests every ten years; women older than 50 should have them every five years. However, if you're at high risk for developing colorectal cancer — such as if you have a family history or personal history of colorectal polyps or cancer — your doctor may recommend an earlier screening schedule than either of these recommendations.
For women over 30, an annual physical exam is the best way to stay on top of preventative healthcare needs. These comprehensive exams, often required or recommended by insurance companies to ensure that seniors are living a healthy life, typically include blood pressure checks, cholesterol testing, and diagnosis of diabetes, as well as going over medical history and physical symptoms with the doctor who will verify if there has been any change in health since last year. These routine visits provide important information to doctors and allow them to have a more accurate view of what's happening with their patients so they can catch any potential illnesses early.