- Are you a woman in your 40s? Then you are right in the eye of middle age, which often involves a metamorphosis. One inevitable event during this metamorphosis is menopause.
- On an average, Indian women reach menopause at 46 years, with most women reaching this milestone somewhere between 41 and 51 years. During this decade, you experience a number of changes before your menstrual cycle finally stops. Every fragment of your body is affected, right from your face and skin to the health of your heart and bones.
- To be healthy and achieve all your goals, it is vital to understand your health first and what your body requires at every stage of life. Each one of us is a unique treasure, and the ageing process will touch us each in different ways. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you keep up with a few routine preventive health screenings to prevent nasty health surprises. Here is a list of tests that should be performed regularly by women in their 40s. And mind you ladies, these are a must do!
- PAP Smear Test
- India alone is responsible for one-fourth of the worldwide burden of cervical cancers, accounting for 17% of all cancer deaths in women aged between 30 and 69 years.
- A Papanicolaou or PAP smear test is an exam a doctor uses to test for cervical cancer in women. It can reveal precancerous changes in your cervical cells and enable you to take timely action. A small sample of cells will be collected from the cervix using a cotton bud and checked by a pathologist for the presence of abnormal cells.
How often should the PAP test be done?
- You should undergo a PAP test every 3-5 years along with being tested for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI) and a leading cause of cervical cancer.
- Breast Examination With a Mammogram
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death due to cancer in women in India despite it being detectable early and conveniently.
- Mammography is an x-ray test of your breasts designed to detect tumours and other abnormalities. Mammography, breast self-examination, and regular clinical breast examination can help identify breast cancer when there are no other symptoms.
How often should you have a mammogram?
- Once you turn 40, it is recommended that you have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years. Talk with your physician about the risk factors, preferences, and benefits of screening. Together, you can identify what screening schedule is the best for you.
- Vitamin D test
- Vitamin D and calcium play a huge role in minimising the bone loss that occurs in your 40s and 50s as the body’s oestrogen levels fluctuate and eventually fall after hitting menopause.
- Unfortunately, due to a sedentary lifestyle, the only potent natural source of vitamin D, exposure to the sun, remains massively neglected. In addition, as we age, the tendency of our body to synthesise this nutrient reduces. Therefore, you must consult your physician, especially if you experience pain in your limbs or have repeated fractures or low bone density.
- Vitamin B12 Test
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin with a vital role in the normal function of the brain and nervous system, and DNA and red blood cell synthesis.
- Vegetarians often tend to have suboptimal levels of vitamin B12 as the main sources of this vitamin include dairy products, eggs, fish, meat, and poultry.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency also occurs if you have had weight loss surgery or other surgeries that involve removal of a part of the stomach, if you drink heavily, or if you’ve been taking acidity‑reducing medications for a long time.
- It is, therefore, a good idea to get a routine blood test done to check your vitamin B12 levels.
- Thyroid profile test
- Many women experience unusual weight gain, hair loss, brittle nails, and exhaustion as they enter their 40s. A common reason for this is an underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland secretes hormones that are responsible for controlling the metabolism of many organs of the body. Any alterations in the amount of the hormones T3 and T4 secreted by this gland can produce serious changes in the body. Women in their 40s are prone to the imbalance in these hormones due to the major hormonal changes occurring around menopause.
When and how often should you get this test done?
- It is recommended that you get this test done once in 5 years after the age of 35. It is also wise to seek professional guidance from your physician for the same.
- Lipid Profile Test
- This test assesses the levels of the good and bad cholesterol along with triglycerides and total cholesterol. When fitness is your goal, you follow heart-healthy habits like exercising regularly, eating a nutritious diet, and not smoking. However, if you do not follow these habits, your cholesterol levels may increase, which in turn affects the health and function of your heart, blood vessels, and brain. Risk factors like a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes also increase your risk of heart disease.
When and how often should you do a lipid profile test?
- It is advised to undergo this test once every 5 years after the age of 30, provided your results are normal. If your results show high levels of cholesterol, it is advised that you undergo a screening once every 6 months.
- Diabetes Screening
- By 40, your pancreas has carried an unfair amount of load, thanks to an unhealthy diet that most of us follow. This often leads to the much-dreaded disorder called diabetes, which is why this test cannot be missed.
When and how often should you undergo this screening?
- By the age of 45, one should get a fasting blood sugar test done once every three years. In addition, based on the risk factors, your doctor may also test your levels of HbA1c (a blood test that indicates your average blood glucose levels over the last 3 months) or urine and blood glucose levels.
- If you strive to stay strong and fit through this phase of transition, going that extra mile for your health is sure to pay off. You can certainly escape the shock and aftermath of being affected by certain conditions if you pledge to do the above-mentioned tests at regular intervals and do not miss your doctor’s appointment. As the old adage says – prevention is better than cure! Book an appointment with one of Health Assure’s trusted and verified partner labs today, and we will take care of your health for you!
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