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The 9 essential health examinations

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The 9 essential health examinations

Examinations for Women’s Health

Bone Mineral Density Exam (DEXA Scan)
Osteoporosis is a silent condition that affects more than half of women over 50. It is characterized by the weakening of bones, causing them to break more easily, can can severely limit a free and active lifestyle if symptoms occur. The best way diagnose osteoporosis is through a bone density test in the hip and spine called a DEXA test, which is an X-ray test that is not painful at all.

Because there are no set guidelines for the early detection of osteoporosis, we consulted various experts in the field of osteoporosis to confirm the following facts: women begin suffering from rapid bone density loss after menopause, therefore, it is recommended that women take a DEXA test annually after menopause. A survey of women over 40 who participated in these annual checkups confi rmed this, showing rapid bone density loss in the years after menopause.

DEXA Scan
There are also other forms of DEXA scans, including the so-called p-DEXA scan, which works with the same concept, but measures bone density in the wrist, rather than the hip and spine. The p-DEXA scan is much cheaper and simpler than the regular DEXA scan, but is not as accurate or dependable.

Who should be tested and when : All women entering 40, or women with high risk of osteoporosis, such as those with a family history of the condition; for women who have just gone through menopause, they should begin taking DEXA scans annually from about a year after menopause; for women who is past menopause and has never had a DEXA scan, they should look to start immediately.

Breast X-ray (Mammogram)
Who should be tested and when : Women in their 40’s who have had no family history of breast cancer should try to get a mammogram once every one or two years; however, most experts recommend that all women over 40 get a mammogram annually.

Examinations for Men’s Health

Prostate-specific Antigen Examination
This is a very simple blood test that measures the amount of a protein that is produced only in the prostate. By determining the amount of that prostatespecific protein, one can diagnose the presence or absence of prostate cancer. In terms of value, this is an extremely worthwhile examination. Even if your doctor feels that it may not be necessary, it can be one of the easiest and most effective modes of detection for prostate cancer. As one doctor says, “Just this test could’ve saved the lives of so many of the 40,000 men afflicted every year.” The American Cancer Society recommends that all men take regular prostate-specifi c antigen examinations every year, and for good reason. The year that the test was introduced in 1996 was the first time in 60 years that the number of deaths from prostrate cancer decreased.

Who should be tested and when : White males should begin exams in their 50’s unless they have a family history of the condition; Black males have a 30% higher risk and are recommended to begin getting examinations in their 40’s; however, it is recommended that all males get inspected annually.

Examinations for Men and Women’s Health

ECG (Electrocardiography)
An ECG records the response of the cardiac muscles to electrical stimulation. “This is a very basic checkup that should be carried out even when there are no symptoms,” says an expert. “Coronary artery disease in women is more often the cause of death in women take the test once when they are 18 years old and again after menopause. You should also take the test if you are currently suffering from, or have a family history of, liver disease, diabetes, arthritis, or chronic fatigue.

Cholesterol test
A total cholesterol test measures the amount of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), triglycerides (neutral fats), and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in your body. Monitoring the levels of each of these is important to preventing various disorders, including heart disease.

Who should be tested and when : children with parents with high cholesterol (more than 240mg/dL) should get a cholesterol test regularly from 7 years of age. For those with parents with normal cholesterol levels, cholesterol tets once every five years is recommended. Anyone with a high total cholesterol level should consult a doctor. Also, it is recommended to get retested about four months after any significant change in lifestyle or medication use.

Blood Sugar Test after Fasting
This test measures the concentration of sugar in the blood after fasting for at least 8 hours. If an individual is tested to have high sugar content after this fasting, it coud indicate a risk for diabetes. Early detection is very crucial to the treatment of diabetes, as it can help prevent many of the different complications, such as vision loss, nerve or kidney failure, heart attacks, etc. However, these symptoms have been known to occur at blood sugar levels that were not previously considered very high, so even if you have had previous test results that suggest your blood sugar may be normal, it’s still possible that you are at risk for diabetes.

Who should be tested and when : Anyone over 45 years of age should be tested for diabetes; if results are normal, they should continue to be tested at least once every three years. People who suffer from obesity, have had a family history of diabetes, and women who have given birth to a child that weighs more than 4kg have a higher risk of diabetes and should consider being tested more often.

Skin Cancer Test
This is a test that often tends to be overlooked, however, experts recommend that everyone be tested for skin cancer annually, while certain others say once every three years is recommended. In either event, dermatologists insist that you should get your skin checked periodically to avoid any serious complications in the future. Dermatologists are finding more and more often early signals of cancer through a full-body skin examination. Skin cancer is unique in that it takes about 10-20 years for it to progress into obvious issues, so those who spend a lot of time outside should make sure to get regular check-ups.

Who should be tested and when : Any adult 18 years and older should be tested once every three years.

Vision Test
Experts cannot stress enough the importance of eye and vision health. Eye health is not all about just being able to see better or more clearly, and proper checkups can have numerous benefi ts. The health of the eye can help diagnose the presence of many other diseases as well. For example, ophtalmologists can detect diseases like hypertension or diabetes just be looking at the condition of the retina.

Who should be tested and when : All adults between the ages of 40 to 64 should receive periodic eye exams every two to four years. Between the ages of 10 to 40, you should receive one proper check-up and then get more as needed depending on changes in visual acuity.

PAP Test (pap smear)
A PAP test, or pap smear, is a series of tests meant to detect and diagnose the presence of cancer and precancerous conditions on the female sexual organs (vaginal, cervical, endometrial). One survey showed that an estimated half of women who have died from cervical cancer did not have a PAP test, which in most cases could have either prevented or delayed conditions from worsening. Therefore, PAP tests are considered very important for women as a regular checkup.

How to get tested

If you are already receiving period checkups for a specific disease, speak with a doctor to see what other tests are recommended or ecessary for you.