According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, routine screening can reduce the number of people who die from colorectal cancer by at least sixty percent—and that’s just one type of screening.
Whether it’s blood sugar for diabetes, mammograms for breast cancer or even monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol for heart disease, screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms.
We refresh and renew our homes like clockwork when spring arrives, but what if we spring clean our health in the same way? A checkup with your primary care provider can help you learn what screenings and tests you might need and when you need them. Screenings help spot problems early, when treatment may be easier and more effective.
So, which screenings are for you?
Depending on your age, family history, health and risk factors, women may benefit from routine screening for:
- Cholesterol. Healthy adults should have their cholesterol tested at least every four to six years since high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease.
- Blood pressure. This should be checked at least once every two years since high blood pressure increases risks of heart and kidney disease and stroke.
- Breast and cervical cancers. Your age and health history determine how often women need tests, like mammograms and PAP tests, that screen for breast and cervical cancers.
- Sexually transmitted infections. If you’re sexually active and have risk factors, it is important to be screened for sexually transmitted infections.
- Diabetes. If you have high blood pressure or are on blood pressure medication, you should get screened for diabetes.
- Colorectal cancer. Most adults should have their first exam at age 50. Your provider can guide you as to which of several available tests is right for you.
- Osteoporosis. Women should have a bone density scan at least once beginning at age 65.
There’s a lot of varying information out there that really does depend on your family history and risk factors. It’s usually best—and you’ll likely feel more comfortable—if you develop an honest, open relationship with your primary care provider as your health partner, so you know what tests are needed and which are not.
Remember, it’s a great time for spring cleaning AND spring screenings.