10 Types of Diagnostic Health Screenings Women Need

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Feb 03, 2021 · By LabReady Team

The US Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts that evaluates the scientific evidence for various health screenings and services has added screening for GBS for all pregnant women in the third trimester as an additional essential preventative diagnostic and as recommended by the Center for Disease Control. 

Cervical cancer screening

What it is:
  A swab that tests for human papillomavirus, or HPV
Who should get it: Women ages 21 to 65
How often: Every 3 years, or every 5 years if you're between the ages of 30 and 65 and get the HPV swab and the Pap together.
Why it's so important: Both tests look for changes in cells that could indicate a need for further testing, like a biopsy.

 Colorectal cancer screening

What it is: Colonoscopy
Who should get it: Adults ages 50 to 75. Those between ages 76 to 85 should discuss whether or not they should continue to be screened with their doctors.
 How often: Every 10 years, assuming everything looks normal.
Why it's so important: This screening can detect colon cancer or precancerous lesions or polyps early.  Women may underestimate their risk for the disease, but it's the third most common and most deadly cancer for women, behind breast and lung cancer, according to the CDC. 

Breast cancer screening

What it is: A mammogram
Who should get it: Women ages 50-74. Women between the ages of 40 and 49, as well as women 75 and older, should decide with their doctors about when to start and stop routine screening.
How often: Every other year, if you're at average risk. With a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, your doctor may recommend more frequent mammograms.
Why it's so important: The most effective tool we have for detecting breast cancer. 

Blood pressure test

What it is: A measurement of the blood coursing through your veins
Who should get it: Adults 18 and older
How often: Once a year. Typically, this is done at an annual physical.
Why it's so important: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American women, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor. Getting screened means your doctor can make recommendations for your health based on the results.

Lipid panel

What it is: This blood test measures your total cholesterol: your "good" HDL cholesterol, your "bad" LDL cholesterol, and your triglycerides, another kind of fat in the blood.
Who should get it: Women age 45 and older if they have increased risk of heart disease, and probably women ages 20 to 45 who have an increased risk of heart disease, too. (The USPSTF gives an A grade to the evidence supporting the use of cholesterol tests in older women and a B grade for younger women.)
How often: Once a year.
Why it's so important: High cholesterol is linked with heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. Keeping a general understanding of your levels may help you and your doc make heart-smart decisions to keep you healthy, particularly as you approach menopause.

Hepatitis C test

What it is: A one-time blood test for the hep C virus
Who should get it: Baby boomers. Adults born between 1945 and 1965 may have been exposed to contaminated blood that wasn't rigorously tested.
How often: Once. High risk adults—typically past or current injection drug users—may need to be screened more often.
Why it's so important: While all adults born between '45 and '65 should get tested, women who had c-sections before 1992 are at particular risk, since they may have received blood transfusions that weren't screened for the virus yet. 

Blood glucose testing

What it is:  A urine and/or blood test to test levels of sugar for type 2 diabetes or borderline pre-diabetes.
Who should get it: Women between the ages of 40 and 70 who are overweight or obese
How often: Usually yearly, but more frequently if your levels put you in the pre-diabetes category.
Why it's so important: Type 2 diabetes is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, but having diabetes may also increase your risk for depression and eating disorders, both of which are already more common among women than men. 

Osteoporosis screening

What it is:
A bone density test
Who should get it: Women 65 and older
How often: If you're not at risk, every 10 years.
Why it's so important: The scan can alert your doctor to any slips in bone mass, which would increase the risk of injury and of declining mobility. 

Depression screening

What it is:
A conversation with your doctor about your mental health
Who should get it: All adults.
How often: There's more and more evidence it should occur somewhat regularly.
Why it's so important: Mental health can feel intimidating to talk about, so making it a part of regular health care can get more people the help they might secretly need. Depression is twice as common in women than in men and is a leading cause of disability around the world, according to the World Health Organization. Screening can help identify the best course of treatment before it becomes debilitating.

Group B Strep

What it is:
Group B Strep Infection: Group B Streptococcus also known as GBS is a type of bacterial infection that can be found in a pregnant woman’s vagina or rectum. This bacterium is normally found in the vagina and/or rectum of about 25% of all healthy, adult women.
Who should get it: If you're pregnant, your health care provider will likely recommend a group B Strep test during the third trimester.
How often: A woman can be positive for GBS at one time during her pregnancy and negative at another. That is why it is important to screen a woman late in her pregnancy, closer to the time when she will deliver and could potentially pass the bacteria to her newborn.
Why it’s so important: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1 in every 4 women carries group B Strep bacteria. While it's harmless to adults who have it, GBS can be transmitted to a baby during childbirth, especially without treatment, which can lead to serious health problems for the infant.



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