Preventive Health Guide

Women's Health

Women need to be aware of certain conditions as they age. Your physician can recommend specific tests based on your personal and family medical history. Below is a list of tests and exams that women should speak with their physician about:

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. High blood pressure can cause serious health problems like strokes and heart attacks. Have your blood pressure checked at every doctor's visit or at least annually.

Cholesterol and other lipids

High cholesterol and other lipids (fats) can cause strokes and heart attacks. All women ages 20 years and older should have a fasting lipid lab test every five years or annually if they have certain risk factors. Talk to your doctor about what numbers are right for you.

Diabetes

High blood sugar can cause problems with your heart, brain, eyes, feet, kidneys and nerves. Adults who are overweight or are at risk for developing high blood sugar should be screened annually.

Immunizations

Get a flu shot every year. If you are 65 years or older or have a chronic condition like diabetes, get a pneumonia shot. A tetanus booster is recommended every 10 years.

Pap test

Screening for cervical cancer depends on age and health history but, beginning at age 21, screenings should be done every two years. If normal, screenings should be done every three years after age 30.

Colorectal cancer

Have a screening test for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be screened earlier.

Overweight or obesity

Being overweight or obese can lead to diabetes and heart disease. The best way to learn if you are overweight or obese is to calculate your body mass index (BMI*). If your BMI is 30 or higher, talk to your doctor about getting help with changing your behaviors to lose weight.

Mammogram

In addition to regular self exams, clinical breast exams performed by a health care provider and annual mammograms should begin at age 40 or as recommended by your physician. Some providers may request a baseline mammogram prior to age 40 based on health history.

Osteoporosis screening (bone density)

Screening for osteoporosis should be done on all women 65 and older, as well as younger postmenopausal women with known risk factors and health history.

Talk to your physician about your particular risk factors and how often you should be screened for any condition you are concerned about. Please refer to your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas contract for information about preventive care coverage.

For more information, visit www.WomensHealth.gov.

* BMI = weight (lb.) x 703 divided by height (in.), then divided by height (in.) again

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