Prevention, they say is better than cure. Have you had these tests?
- Spinal Evaluation – After the various pregnancies and childbirths, carrying of heavy hand bags, walking on high heeled shoes, bending to sweep etc, what is the integrity of your spine? Spinal misalignments can happen as a result of all the above and more. Some people are born with spinal abnormalities like scoliosis. However, they may not experience any discomfort until they are teenagers when changes in hormones may produce some symptoms. Doing a spinal evaluation (with a Chiropractor) will show if indeed there are any misalignments that could be resulting in nerve pressure. This is important because nerve pressure also can lead to several dysfunctions. Doing a spinal evaluation once a year is necessary to ensure that your skeletal frame is in optimum form.
- Xrays and Bone Density –Normal ageing COMES WITH DEGENERATION. This test shows the integrity of bones in the entire body. Women 50 years and above especially should have bone density tests done to ensure that their bones are not de-mineralizing. Once you start menopause, the hormonal changes can also affect your bones. Osteoporosis commonly causes an abnormal curvature of the spine in elderly women. Due to the weakening of the spinal bones these women may present with a hunch back like symptoms.
- Monthly Self Breast Exam – All adult women, 18 years and above must check for lumps in breasts at least once a month. Women 40 years and above who are at high risk should also have mammograms at least once a year. Early detection of malignant cancer cells can lead to successful treatment.
- Hypertension – Do you know your numbers? Depending on age, lifestyle, and family history, you may be required to check your blood pressure on a daily basis at home. If you have been already diagnosed, it will be important to get a machine and record all readings. Normal blood pressure reading is 120/80. Pre-hypertensive is a range from 121/81 – 140/90. Hypertension is diagnosed when three or more consecutive readings are above 140/90. If your blood pressure reading is in the pre-hypertension range then this is the time to exercise and watch your diet to prevent it from advancing to full-blown hypertension.
- Check blood sugar and blood cholesterol – In a healthy woman with no family history of diabetes or hypertension or high cholesterol, lab tests should be run at least once a year after 30 years of age. If you have been diagnosed with the above then blood glucose or cholesterol levels should be checked at least every 6 months. With early detection, diseases like diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol can be managed without drugs.
- Eye Test – If there is a family history of diabetes or hypertension then after 40 years of age each woman should test their eyes at least once a year. Undiagnosed or severe forms of diabetes can lead to neuropathy of some nerves in the eyes which may even lead to blindness. A severe form of hypertension can also lead to a bursting of some blood vessels in the eye.
- PAP Smear – Cells are taken from the cervix to check for precancerous cells. After 21 years of age, each female should have a pap smear once a year till age 65 by which time women who have had clean pap smears can stop doing them. Women who have multiple sexual partners are more prone to cervical cancer but every woman of childbearing age should have yearly pap smears. This type of cancer again is treatable if it is caught early.
- Thyroid Test – Extreme weight gain and weight loss, fatigue, insomnia, heart palpitations etc, can be a result of too much or too little activity of the thyroid gland. After the age of 35 years, every woman should be checked at least once in 5 years
Written by: Dr. Naa Asheley Dordor, Nova Wellness Center