You get your car serviced to ensure everything is working properly and to prevent it breaking down, well your body needs the same care and attention, if not more!
Prevention is the key to good health.
It's important to talk to your doctor about your family history, your lifestyle and medical history so they can have an accurate depiction of your current state of health and what the future may hold for your health.
Having a regular doctor has many advantages.
You should begin thinking about health checks in your 20’s. This is the time in most women's lives when they are extremely active, either studying, working, going out with friends and establishing regular diet and exercise patterns. Your health is generally at its peak but it's also important to start considering what types of health checks you need and all major health tests can begin during your 20’s.
20's-30's STI Check:
Infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis should all be checked for once you are sexually active, even if you frequently use condoms or are on the pill. This can be done through a urine or blood test.
Pap Smear and Pelvic Exam:
Pap checks are currently recommended every two years for women age 18, or 2 years after first having sexual intercourse. The test can detect changes to cells in the cervix before they develop into cervical cancer, so it is extremely important.
It can be carried out either by a GP or gynaecologist and after your first exam you should continue to have a pap smear every two years.
On May 1st 2017 a five yearly HPV test will replace the current pap test for cervical screening
Mammogram and Breast Exam:
At around age 20, women should have a clinical breast exam every year until they are 40 when the check should become annual.
It's important to know your breasts so you can be aware of any changes such as redness, dimpling, lumpiness or changes in the size or shape of the nipple.
Breastscreen Australia offers free breast screenings every two years for women aged 50-65.
Poor dental health can have more serious ramifications such as infection, so be sure to schedule your routine dental check and cleaning at least once a year.
Blood pressure screening:
High blood pressure has no symptoms but is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and heart failure. You should have a blood pressure screening at least every 2 years.
Sometimes if you are on the pill, your doctor will check your blood pressure before prescribing you more, as people with abnormally low or high blood pressure may face health issues on the pill.
Skin Cancer Check:
95% of skin cancers can be effectively treated if they are detected early. Get to know your skin, so you can detect any unusual changes such as lumps, markings, freckles or moles.
Warning signs can be inflammation or itchiness, crusty or bleeding lumps or bumps that change size, shape or colour.
You should continue to have all of the previously mentioned checks but also consider...
You need an eye check every two years around the age of 40 to test for glaucoma which is the leading cause of blindness in Australia. Early detection can alleviate the issue with little damage to the eye.
You should continue to have all of the previously mentioned checks but also consider…
Bone Density Scan
Osteoporosis is a health problem where bones become brittle due to mineral loss and can make it easier to break and fracture bones. Bone density scans are painless and ensures your bone mineral density is at a healthy level.
50% of Australians have some form of hearing issue. Visit your audiologist to determine your level of auditory capabilities and catch any issues before they intensify. A simple ear infection can become sinister if left untreated!
Many of these health checks can be carried and detected by you. Knowing your body and being quick to realise unusual changes is the key to early prevention, so make sure to look out and know how to perform regular self-checks.
Make a note of your last appointment and keep dates written down in your calendar. Don't forget to have regular contact with your GP and to book in for the necessary health checks later down the track.
Also, to aid in early prevention, be sure to look after your body and be kind to it!
Don’t drink excessively and maintain a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle with regular exercise. Get enough sleep each night and take a mental health day when you feel as though you need one.
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Note: This post does not replace professional medical advice. Please see your healthcare professional for all medical advice.