Are you up to date on all your tests? Do you even know what tests women in your age group should get? I’d bet most women would have to say no to both questions. That’s a real problem in my book!
That’s also why I talked to my friend and colleague Pam Peeke, MD to find out what women should think about in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. Here’s what she told me.
You may feel too young to worry about health issues, but this is the perfect time to get your baseline readings for all critical tests. Baseline means it’s the starting point. It shows where your body is at when you are young and presumably in your best health. As you get older, these tests results will be incredibly valuable as a comparison if anything starts to go wrong. That’s why every woman should have a complete physical by age 21. Here’s what you need for blood tests:
• Cholesterol tests
• Liver/Kidney function tests
• Blood sugar tests
• Thyroid level tests
• Vitamin level tests – especially vitamins D and B12
In addition, every women should also have these physical exams:
• Gynecological tests - Get a baseline Pap test and tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Dr. Peeke says that more than 19 million people are diagnosed with STDs and over half of them are between the ages of 15 and 24. Make sure you get tested for HPV – it’s a leading cause of cervical cancer.
• Skin exam tests – Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women ages 25-29. So don’t forget to schedule time for a visual exam of your skin to check for abnormal growths that could be the start of skin cancer.
• Weight tests – No matter what your body type is – thin, athletic or full – write down your waist size, weight and body mass index (BMI) and keep it as a baseline measure. These numbers will be important to track as you get older.
Dr. Peeke says that women in this age group should repeat everything they had done in their 20s, with some additions.