This week (May 13-19) is National Women’s Health Week. The purpose of this week is to empower women to make their own health a top priority.
An important way for women to remain in good health is to understand what preventive health measures are recommended for women as they age. The guidelines below can help women find out about recommended screening tests at any age. These guidelines are based on U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s recommendation, as well as those from the American Cancer Society. Keep in mind that these are guidelines only. All preventive health measures should be discussed with your doctor, so they can be tailored to your specific medical history and identified risk factors.
Heart disease screening
- Blood pressure should be checked at least every two years-more often if you have high blood pressure.
- Yearly cholesterol tests are recommended for women starting at the age of 20, if you are at a high risk.
Colorectal cancer Screening
- Starting at the age of 50, women with no increased risk for colorectal cancer should begin screening.
- Women with a family history of colorectal cancer or an identified risk factor should discuss starting screening earlier or getting it more frequently.
- Discuss the need for continued screening over the age of 75 with your doctor.
- Women with high blood pressure should be screened for diabetes.
Breast Cancer Screening
- The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends clinical breast exam (CBE) about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over
- The ACS also recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health
- Women aged 75 and older should discuss the need for continued screening with their doctor.
Sexual health screening
- Pap smears should be done every 3 years for women over the age of 21 or when they become sexually active. Women over the age of 65 should discuss the need for continued screening with their doctor.
- Women who are sexually active or are pregnant should get tested for chlamydia yearly through the age of 24. Women over the age of 25 should get tested if they are sexually active and at increased risk, whether they are pregnant or not.
- Gonorrhea testing should be done for all sexually active women who are at increased risk.
- Syphilis testing should be done for all women who are at increased risk or who are pregnant.
- All women at increased risk or become pregnant should be tested for HIV.
- To find out if you are at increased risk for any sexually transmitted infection, check here.
- Women over the age of 65 should get a bone mineral density test-younger if you are at increased risk.
To find out more about Women’s Health Week and how to make your health a priority, go to the Office of Women’s Health website.
To find events celebrating Women’s Health Week in your area, please check here.