Sometimes moms put themselves at the very bottom of the list of things requiring attention. The oil needs to be changed before the soccer carpool, the kids need to be ferried to the dentist and there’s a potluck dinner that isn’t going to cook a casserole itself! But if mom breaks down, in most families, there is a serious work flow issue. So at a minimum, here are the 9 tests that you absolutely should not skip.
Yearly physical: Just once a year, get yourself to your general doctor. This preventative measure can help you find and treat anything that may crop up. Having a relationship with a general doc can be helpful as we age so there’s no time like the present to start.
Blood pressure: If you get your yearly physical, this one is already covered! Cardiovascular disease kills more women in a year than all the cancers combined. This is no joke and must be taken seriously.
Cholesterol screening: This is a simple blood draw that will tell you how much gunk is collecting in your arteries. Keeping smooth blood flow will help circulation and bring fresh oxygen to your brain, decreasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. You can also have this done at your yearly physical; your time is valuable, so bundle your checks.
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Blood sugar screening: Diabetes is on the rise in the US, and other places where a Western diet is gaining popularity. Type 2 diabetes is often preventable with proper nutrition. Pre-packaged food and additives have caused a major spike in diabetes. Knowing your blood sugar number can help you to determine where you might need to make healthy changes in your diet.
Pap smear: Sure it’s uncomfortable, but getting a Pap smear every year is a great way to detect cervical cancer in its early stages. Bonus— when you’re there, your gynecologist is checking for a whole host of other reproductive health issues!
Skin check: A proper skin check is ideally done by a dermatologist and will be a “full-body” check, not just areas that are typically exposed. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is on a sharp rise and dermatologists can find it and other skin problems before they get dangerous. Remember to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen every day, including winter time and when it’s cloudy.
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Mammogram: There is some controversy about whether the standard of getting a mammogram yearly at age 40 is effective, but after whatever age you and your doctor determine is right for you, don’t skip it! A mammogram is still the best we have to catch breast cancer in it’s earliest stages. They’re fast and I can tell you from personal experience that they aren’t the soul shredding painful process that I always heard about. And 30 seconds of pain is worth a lifetime of cancer-free breasts, right?
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Colonoscopy: If the Pap smear makes you uncomfortable, then we’re guessing the thought of a colonoscopy makes you equally anxious. But again, it’s a seriously effective way to treat precancerous growths and with screening not starting until the age of 50 (or ten years before the age a close relative was when they were diagnosed with colon cancer) you probably have some time to square away your misgivings. Your grandchildren will be grateful that you did this test.
Bone density test: Let’s end on a painless, simple test that you don’t need until you’re older! This test will help you prevent the kind of falls that lead to broken bones. Osteoporosis affects more than 1.5 million women and men over age 50 and testing can prevent us from shrinking as we age!
So pull out your contacts and calendar and make your appointments. You won’t regret the short amount of time that you are devoting to YOU by getting these tests done.