stokkete/fotolia, Edited by Erin Kennedy
Midlife is a time of transition for women who are moving from their reproductive years toward menopause. The most obvious change is in the reproductive cycle. But that is not the only significant change that may be going on in your body.
Tracking your overall health before anything goes wrong can help your doctor diagnose and provide quick and accurate treatment if your health changes as you get older.
1) Gynecological checkup
This is typically the first exam women think of to safeguard their health. The test typically includes a pelvic exam and Pap smear to check for abnormal growths or unusual characteristics in your reproductive system.
Get this test done every year unless your doctor recommends a different schedule.
Many doctors also add an HPV test to check for the most common types of human papillomavirus that may indicate increased risk for cervical cancer.
A breast exam will check for lumps and other physical changes in your breasts that could indicate breast cancer. Recently there has been division on recommendations for women to have manual breast exams, so talk to your provider about what they think is best for you.
You doctor will also order a mammogram for your breasts every one to two years depending on your results.
2) Heart checkup
This exam typically includes checking your blood pressure and doing blood work to evaulate your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These tests are important to ensure that your heart is not working too hard and that your blood vessels are healthy and open, so blood can flow easily throughout your body.
If your blood pressure is normal, get it checked again in two years. You should have your cholesterol checked at least every five years.
3) Skin check
Many people have moles on their skin. But what looks like a typical mole could actually be the start of melanoma — the deadliest type of skin cancer.