Keeping Up With Your Evolving Health Needs

Trends in health screening for women are evolving in response to the fallout of Covid-19, as you mature past your 20s, and into your 30s and 40s. These can include monitoring of stress levels, liver conditions and blood-related diseases (haematology), as work-life patterns shift towards hybrid arrangements for work from home and office time.

 

Image Credits: Pexels, Stanley Ng

 

The annual health exams you began in your teens may need to change in frequency, and their types can vary from one individual to the next. For instance, eye exams every two years are recommended as you move into your 30s, and full physical exams, every one to five years.

Preconception health checks: If you and your partner are planning for children, consult your OBGYN for a screening, which includes tests for anaemia, Thalassemia, blood group and type (Rhesus), as well as infectious disease tests. Women will need a Pap smear test, along with a basic ultrasound of the pelvic organs to detect cysts and fibroids in ovaries and uterus. Don’t forget to check if you’re already immunised against Rubella and Varicella Zoster viruses. Your specialist might also recommend changes to your lifestyle and diet to put you in optimal health for a new addition (or more).

Diabetes: Screening for diabetes as you move towards your late 30s and 40s is recommended, especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet. Screening for diabetes is recommended at least once every three years, with a test that calls for a simple fast at least eight hours ahead. Overweight women with a strong family history of the disease, or have a history of gestational diabetes or pre-diabetes, may even opt to be screened sooner.

Breast exams: As you round off your 30s and move into your 40s, get a professional breast exam every year. Healthcare providers examine breasts for irregularities, and will note differences in size or shape, rashes and dimpling, as well as lumps. They are likely to also check if nipples produce fluid when gently squeezed. 

HPV Infections: For women over 30, to identify cervical-cancer causing HPV strains (types 16 and 18), and receive gynaecological attention where needed. If results are negative, the test can be repeated every five years.

Liver Function Tests: Also known as liver chemistries, these help determine the health of your liver — the workhorse of all our organs — by measuring levels of proteins, liver enzymes and bilirubin in your blood. They can reveal abnormalities that indicate liver problems, and are recommended: 

  • To check for infections such as hepatitis B and C

  • Monitor side effects of medications known to affect the liver

  • Monitor treatment of an existing liver disease

  • If you’re experiencing symptoms of a liver disorder

  • If you have medical conditions such as high triglycerides, diabetes, high blood pressure or anemia

  • If you drink alcohol heavily

  • If you have gallbladder disease

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