The human body is home to many friendly microorganisms like E. coli, Candida, etc. which live mutually in the body. If their amount is changed, it results in infection and disease. The body is vulnerable to getting attacked by bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the vicinity too. These communicable diseases can occur at any stage of life and in any human, they can be tackled only when all precautions are taken. Certain non-communicable diseases like depression, cardiac arrest, obesity, breast cancer, PCOS, etc. have seen a surge in population. These diseases can also be tackled if proper care and tests are done from time to time.  

A person can carry a certain disease hereditary like diabetes, hemophilia, color blindness, etc. but they might be unaware of it in the initial stage. It is advisable to have a regular check-up even if one seems fit and fine. Screening tests help diagnose a disease even before the symptoms, they do not treat the disease, they just guide the person and expert about what further process needs to be done. The kind of screening test required depends on the patient's medical history, age, and risk factors.

As Shakespeare has rightly quoted, “Better three hours early than a minute late”, these tests are relatable to the quote. The screening test has become a requirement for all age groups due to the changing lifestyle and risks of non-communicable diseases. The test varies with the age group of a person. Women are advised to take regular screening tests as they undergo physical and physiological changes at every stage of life.

Screening test in women begins from the menstrual cycle till her menopause and even after that. Here are a few screening tests, she should undergo at a particular age to prevent the risk of disease –

·         Screening test required for women in the age group of 20-30 –

1.      Pelvic exam – this helps in detecting any kind of sexually transmitted disease in women and the screening test also helps diagnose if the woman has any signs of cervical cancer. The doctors recommend that a woman should have a pelvic screening test once every three years to avoid the risk of any malignant disease.

2.      Breast cancer screening – if a woman has a family history of breast cancer, she should undergo a screening test like a clinical test and mammogram to confirm the same. This type of cancer is associated with certain kinds of genes, if there are symptoms during the screening test, the doctor will advise you to undergo genetic counseling or a test to confirm.

3.      Physical exam – women usually tend to neglect their physical examination thinking that it is not necessary. Is advised doctors that one should get a physical screening every year to see whether the body is functioning properly or not. These screening tests include weight, height, and body mass index. There is a universal chart for the above three parameters. At the age of 20, a woman should have a certain height, weight, and BMI. If she does not meet the criteria, it is a matter of concern, it is marked as under-nutrition or obesity. During these physical screenings, doctors ask questions about drugs and alcohol consumption, exercise, diet, and mental health. This helps the doctor understand the lifestyle of the patient and the guidance she requires.

4.      Cholesterol and Blood test – the risk of heart disease increases with age and so doctors recommend having a cholesterol test every four years starting from the age of 20. The screening of blood tests is recommended every year by the doctor. High blood pressure can lead to complications like diabetes, heart issues, etc.

·         Screening test required for women in the age group of 40-60 –

1.      Breast cancer test – mammography is recommended for women to screen if they have breast cancer or not with growing age. A breast exam includes checking of the breasts visually and manually for any kind of lumps, rashes, or fluid by the doctor. This screening test is recommended to be done once every two years.

2.      Skin screening – with increasing age, the capacity of the skin to be exposed to sunlight reduces. The layers of the skin keep shredding and making the layer more sensitive. Experts recommend check-ups once a month if unknown moles arise. If a family history of skin cancer exists, a proper screening test should be done.

3.      Osteoporosis screening test – as age increases, the bones become weaker due to a deficiency of calcium. The phenomenon in which pores are formed in the bones is called osteoporosis. The screening test is necessary as the risk of fracture is more at a higher age.

4.      Mental health screening – it is marked by experts that women are 70% more likely to have depression episodes than men. Women tend to take things more emotionally than men. With increasing age, the tendency to work alone reduces, and chances of living alone, etc. are factors affecting women and leading them to depression. Screening tests for depression include checking a woman's sleep pattern, interest in activities, eating habits, etc.

Vaccines help build immunity. We are constantly in contact with many microorganisms in our day-to-day life.  Some of them are malignant and cause harm to the human body. At different stages of life, different doses of vaccine should be taken. After a proper assessment, women should get their vaccine doses depending on their medical history, allergy, age, occupation, travel history, etc. Here are a few vaccines listed that a woman should take in her lifetime-

1.      Human papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine – the chances of cervical cancer remain in a woman. HPV is the virus causing this cancer. A woman should take her dose until the age of 26. Both boys and girls can take the HPV vaccine. It is recommended by the experts that pregnant women and those having illness should not take the dose.

2.      Influenza vaccine – those women who have a high chance of getting the flu, should take the flu shot before winter. Children and adults should get this dose every winter.

3.      Varicella vaccine – the virus causing chicken pox is Varicella. Children, adults, and women who are not pregnant are recommended to take the dose.

4.      Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) – with the advice of a doctor, women should undergo the dosage of MMR. This vaccine helps protect against these diseases.

5.      Tetanus, Diphtheria, pertussis – this vaccine needs dosage every 10 years. Vaccines should be taken after a recommendation from a doctor and checking one’s medical history of allergies.

 The ICHHORI website is bringing a breakthrough revolution in women-related health and lifestyle issues. It covers almost every topic a woman should know in any age group. 

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