5 Important Medical Tests for Women Over 50

If you are a woman over the age of 50, there are some very important medical tests you should be getting on a regular basis. This is because women over 50 are at an increased risk for developing certain diseases and conditions, and regular testing can detect any issues or changes within your body. These screenings can spot problems in their early stages, making treatment and recovery much more attainable. Talk to your doctor today if you are over 50 and need to be scheduled for these important tests.

Mammogram/Breast Exam

Mammograms and breast exams are both extremely important for women over 50. The risk of breast cancer increases with age, and early detection is vital. Women with a family history of breast cancer or elevated risks may need to get a mammogram every year, while women with no family history or lower risks may only need one every 2 years. Your doctor will recommend the proper testing schedule for you.

There are two types of mammograms. The first type is a screening mammogram, which uses x-ray pictures to detect breast cancer in women that are free of symptoms. These are very beneficial because they can spot the early signs of breast cancer. Diagnostic mammograms use multiple x-ray pictures to detect cancer in women who already have a symptom of the disease, such as a lump, skin thickening, or breast pain.

Bone Density Test

Women over 50 are at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis, and should be given a bone density test at some point after their 50th birthday. Osteoporosis causes the loss of bone mass and is much more common after menopause has taken place. This loss of bone mass can lead to brittle bones, significantly raising the risk of fractures. A simple bone density test measures the density of your bones by determining the mineral content in them. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis, there are ways to treat and reverse it. These things include increased exercise, quality diets rich in calcium and other nutrients, and osteoporosis medications.

Pelvic Exam/Pap Smear

Many women think that pelvic exams and pap smears aren’t as important as they get older. They may believe that because they have had years of negative pap tests, they will never get cervical cancer. Well, that’s not the case. If you are 50 or older, you still have a risk of developing cancer, even if you have had a lifetime of normal pelvic exams and pap smears. Unfortunately, many women over 50 are being diagnosed with cancer after it is too late. This is because they neglected to get these screenings, which can catch problems in the beginning. Pelvic exams and pap smears are simple ways to detect any issues, and are well worth the small amount of time it takes to get them.

Colonoscopy

The risk of colon cancer increases with age, and women over 50 should be getting colonoscopies on a regular basis. Colonoscopies allow doctors to view the entire colon, showing any polyps or changes that could signal cancer. Although many people are scared or embarrassed to get one of these tests, they are simple and can save your life. If you have an abnormal colonoscopy, it may signal cancer or just a benign issue. Your doctor will perform tests that will define the results. Depending on those results, you will either need treatment, or your doctor will have you return in a year for another colonoscopy. If you have a normal test, you may not need another one for a few years. Your doctor is the only one that will know the proper screening schedule for you.

Blood Work

Your blood holds a lot of information about your overall health. Routine blood work is a great idea for women over 50, as it can give your doctor an assessment of any health issues you may be facing. Your doctor will most likely order a full range of blood work, which includes a CBC, or complete blood count, that calculates the number, size, and shape of the cells in your blood. Tests that measure thyroid and kidney function, as well as cholesterol and glucose levels, will most likely be included in your blood work as well. Your doctor may prescribe medications or order additional tests if your blood shows any issues that require attention.

Since early detection of medical issues is so important, you should definitely be getting these simple tests done regularly if you are a woman over 50. The small amount of time it takes to go to the doctor is well worth the value of your life. Call your doctor today if you are due for any of these tests. You will be so glad you did.

Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes for InsuranceQuotes.org.