This year, National Women’s Health Week begins on May 9 and serves as an annual reminder for women to make their health a priority.
The day-to-day efforts we all take to manage our health are easy to remember: making sure we’re eating a balanced diet, getting the right amount of physical exercise, and, especially when working from home, limiting our screen time in an effort to maintain our mental health as well.
When it comes to the less routine aspects of women’s healthcare, it can be hard to remember when to schedule screenings or appointments that are only necessary once a year (or once every few years).
To better keep track of when to schedule those easy-to-forget screenings or visits, take a look at the list below.
WOMEN’S HEALTH SCREENINGS: WHEN TO SCHEDULE THEM (AND WHY)
Pap smears. Beginning at age 21 and until age 65, women should have a Pap smear every three years before age 30 and every five years after age 30. Some women may require more frequent screening depending on results and their risk factors. This screening examines cervical cells for any changes that may lead to or indicate cervical cancer.
Mammograms. Annual breast cancer screenings should begin at age 40, according to The American Cancer Society. If you are 50 or older, you have the option to continue yearly screening or switch to receiving a mammogram every two years.
Colon cancer screenings. For those with an average risk of colorectal cancer, colon cancer screenings are recommended beginning at age 50. Procedures that are used to screen for colorectal cancer include stool-based tests, a sigmoidoscopy, or a colonoscopy. Depending on the results of your exam, your doctor will recommend a cadence for another screening. Typically, if no abnormalities are found, doctors will recommend another screening in ten years. If your doctor discovers abnormal tissue or polyps, they may recommend receiving another screening sooner. The number of polyps and their size may determine how often your doctor recommends future screenings.
Skin exams. While you can perform monthly skin exams at home each month, dermatologists recommend an annual screening to look for new moles or changes to existing moles. Women should start examining their skin regularly in their 20s.
Bone density exams. Beginning at age 65, women should receive screenings for osteoporosis. A bone density test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other minerals are found in the spine, hip, and sometimes the forearm. How often you’ll receive a bone density test depends on your bone density results and other risk factors.
Blood pressure screenings. Starting at age 18, women should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. Most doctors perform a blood pressure screening each year at your annual physical. A healthy blood pressure, typically, is below 120/80. High blood pressure can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as long-term risks like heart or kidney disease.
Cholesterol screening. Regularly checking your cholesterol can help gauge your risk for developing heart disease or stroke. Starting at age 20, you should have your cholesterol checked every five years (though, if you get a yearly physical, a cholesterol screening is included in your routine blood work).
Your employees can use Eden Health to stay on top of their screenings — keeping them healthy protects your business.
Are you an Eden member? You can always message an Eden provider with questions about health screenings or tests you should receive. Download the Eden app here.