Well-woman care for women in Colorado is more than just an annual visit to their primary care physician. Instead, it consists of a comprehensive list of screenings that take place periodically to confirm that her health is on the right track. Today, we take a look at a few of the most important tests a woman should have each year or at her doctor’s recommendation.
Pap smear and HPV.
Starting at the age of 21, women should begin getting a Pap test every one to three years. This helps to identify potential issues with her reproductive health. By the age of 30, a well-woman care visit should also include an HPV screening every five years.
STDs are common, and many women are carriers without even knowing it. Sexual health screening should become a priority as soon as a woman becomes sexually active. A woman with multiple partners may wish to get an STD test multiple times per year to ensure she does not have or pass on an STD or viral infection.
Although diabetes screening is typically not part of a well-woman care visit in a woman’s early reproductive years, most women should begin screenings around the age of 35. Women who are obese, have high blood pressure, or a family history of diabetes or heart disease may require an annual screening. Those without additional risk factors can make it part of their well-woman care every three years.
Women over the age of 40 should receive a mammogram at least once each year. Those with a family history of breast cancer may require more frequent screenings.
Colorectal screenings typically begin around the age of 45. However, like other screenings mentioned above, those with a family history of health concerns, such as colon cancer or colon polyps, may need to be screened more frequently and earlier in age than their peers.
Fair-skinned women and those frequently exposed to the Colorado sun should have their skin checked every year for changes in moles, color, or consistency. At the age of 40, a well-woman care visit should extend to the dermatologist’s office, where a woman should have a full skin check.
Starting around the age of 45, women should begin asking for a cholesterol test as part of their well-woman care. Women with medical problems, such as kidney disease, diabetes, or heart concerns, may begin cholesterol testing as young as 20.
Around the time a woman begins menopause, her bones can become brittle or thin. Women should have their bone density tested starting at the age of 35 – 50 for those with risk factors.
While this is not a complete list of all of the tests or potential health concerns a woman might have checked during her well-woman visits, it’s a good start. Each woman is unique and has a set of circumstances that might warrant additional or more frequent testing. However, one thing is certain, and that is that an annual wellness exam can help uncover issues that might cause problems if left unchecked.
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