Women are known for their ability to multitask. However, in a fast-paced life and donning multiple hats, women tend to ignore their own health. Over the years, with advancements in science and medicine, it is proven that preventive measures could alleviate any severe health issues. While everyone needs to monitor their health, for women it’s even more crucial. A woman goes through body transformation every few years in her entire life span. The oft-repeated fundamentals of a healthy life such as regular exercise, stress management, and healthy eating habits are to be sincerely abided by. Additionally, scheduling routine health screenings are essential, as it can detect potential health issues early on. In this article, we will discuss five essential health screenings every woman should schedule today.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day this month, let us also emphasize the importance of prioritising women’s health. Ensuring that women have access to regular health screenings and preventive care is crucial for promoting gender equality and empowering women to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
General Health Screening: Every woman should undergo general health screening at least once a year. Women tend to have nutritional deficiencies and these should also be routinely checked, for example, Haemoglobin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Calcium, Iron, etc. These tests help detect early signs of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other common health conditions.
Gynaecological and Pregnancy Health Screening: A gynaecological health screening is vital for the detection of any abnormal changes in the reproductive system. Women aged 25 and older should have a Pap smear test every three years to screen for cervical cancer. Women aged 30 to 65 years should have both a Pap smear and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years. Additionally, a breast examination and mammogram should be performed every two years for women aged 40 years and above to check for breast cancer. Pregnancy health screening is essential for women who are trying to conceive or are already pregnant. Women should undergo prenatal screening to check for any potential risks to the pregnancy, such as genetic disorders, infections, or other medical conditions. Regular prenatal care can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Orthopaedic Health Screening: An orthopaedic health screening is recommended for women who have a family history of joint problems, arthritis, or osteoporosis. The screening involves checking the joints and bones for any abnormalities or signs of wear and tear. Women over 50 years should have a bone density scan to check for osteoporosis, which is a condition that causes weak and brittle bones. As part of preventive measures women are encouraged to consult with physiotherapists and physical coaches to help learn about posture, gait, and basics of flexibility and muscle strengthening.
Dermatological Health Screening: Dermatological health screening is necessary to detect any changes or abnormalities in the skin, such as skin cancer. Women should have a full-body skin exam every year by a dermatologist, especially if they have a family history of skin cancer or have had extensive sun exposure.
Mental Health: Mental Health is a crucial aspect of every individual’s overall well-being, yet it is often overlooked and stigmatised. Did you know that 1 in 4 individuals experience depression at some point in their life? Despite this alarming statistic, women are less likely to seek help when they need it the most. It’s time we break the silence and acknowledge the importance of mental health. If you’re feeling low, sad, anxious, or depressed, don’t ignore these warning signs. Seek help from a trained mental healthcare professional or counsellor, because your mental health matters, and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
It is essential to understand that preventive measures can terminate any disorder that has the potential to intensify into a major disease that could prove to be irreversible. Timely and regular check-ups not only help us prevent any major health disorders but also improve the quality of life we intend to lead. Indian women usually neglect their health, therefore, their near & dear ones also play a pivotal role in encouraging them to conduct regular check-ups or take doctor consultations. As the world has now adapted to digital mediums, primary health consultations are easily available through online platforms too and usage of it could help us take preventive measures.
Views expressed by Dr Gowri Kulkarni, Head of Medical Operations, MediBuddy
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