As women, we face unique health challenges. In order to maintain long-term health, prevention and early detection of medical conditions and diseases is key. Depending on your stage of life, the following exams are recommended.
A Pap Test is an exam that helps detect cervical cancer in women. Often caused by HPV, it is estimated that this disease is responsible for 4,100 deaths a year.
When to get a Pap Test
Ages 21-29. Women of this age should receive a Pap Test every three years.
Ages 30 – 64. It is recommended that an HPV and Pap Tests are performed together every 5 years.
Ages 60+. The age at which most women may not need this exam.
Some women may require more frequent pap tests if they have the following issues:
- Weakened immune system
- Past abnormal Pap Test results
Find out more about cervical cancer & Pap Tests.
Blood Pressure Test
A simple blood pressure test can help detect early signs of diabetes or heart attack. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. In fact, one in every four deaths is caused by heart disease.
Who Should Get a Blood Pressure Test
Women of All Ages. Get tested at least every two years if your blood pressure is normal (120/80 or lower.) Get tested once a year if your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89. If your blood pressure is higher than the outlined ranges, discuss treatment options with your doctor.
Find out more about blood pressure & heart disease in women.
A mammogram is an x-ray image of the breast that is used to detect early signs of breast cancer. Approximately one out of every eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.
When to get a Mammogram
Ages 18 – 49. Most women do not need to have a mammogram performed at this age.
Ages 50+. Once a woman reaches the age of 50, it is recommended that she is screened every two years.
Women who are at high-risk for breast cancer may want to consider receiving a mammogram earlier. Common risk-factors include:
- Family history of breast cancer
- Radiation treatment near face or chest before 30 years old
- Women who have received hormone replacement therapy
Learn more about breast cancer & mammograms.
Bone Density Test
Women are more susceptible to bone density loss, especially after menopause. Osteoporosis can be treated, but it is important to catch the problem early in order to prevent further bone loss and provide the most effective treatment.
Typically, bone density tests are done using a DEXA Scan. This procedure measures the density of bones in areas of the body that are prone to breaks and fractures, such as the spine, hips and forearms.
When to get a Bone Density Test
Ages 18 – 64. Most women in this age range do not need to get bone density tests, but your doctor may choose to perform one if you meet certain high-risk criteria.
Ages 65+. Bones naturally become thinner as we age, so most cases of osteoporosis are seen at this stage of life.
Learn more about osteoporosis and bone density tests.
Schedule Your Annual Exam
The best thing you can do for your health is to have an annual exam with your OBGYN. Virginia Women’s Health provides compassionate healthcare for women at all stages of life. To schedule an appointment with us, please call our office.