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Your “Must Have” Annual Health Tests

By Expert HERWriter
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what are your 'must have' health tests? Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

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.

STD tests – Be sure to get tested for AIDS and chlamydia in addition to the tests you had in your 20s. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease in the United States with over a million new cases diagnosed each year. Although it is easy to cure, chlamydia can make it difficult to get pregnant if it is not treated.

Gynecological tests – Keep up with your Pap and pelvic exams and make sure you have a breast exam.

Blood sugar tests – This test is even more important for this age group. Make sure you get your overall blood sugar level and your A1C level, which gives a better long-term view of your average blood sugar levels.

Weight tests – Now is the time to start tracking your waist size, BMI and weight. As you head into your 40s and your hormone levels start to decline, the numbers you record now will give you valuable information about your health.

Hormone tests – And speaking of hormones, now is the time to get a baseline reading of your hormone levels. You want to know your levels of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone as well as FSH and LH. As you get older your doctor will use these numbers to compare with your symptoms in menopause to help you decide whether hormone replacement could be right for you.

Skin exams

Dental tests – Don’t neglect your teeth and gums. A trip to the dentist can also provide screening for oral cancer and other possible problems.

Eyes tests – Even if your vision is good, your ophthalmologist (eye doctor) will check for early signs of physical problems with your eyes that could affect your vision later.


This is the time when most women head into or arrive at menopause. Keep up with your health checks so you can anticipate what this “change” will mean for you.

Weight checks – Even if your weight stays the same, it may start to redistribute to new locations on your body. Check your body mass percentage and watch your waist measurement. Too much body fat overall can increase your risk of breast cancer. Excess fat around your belly can increase your risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Blood tests – Get them all done in your 40s and pay extra attention to your cholesterol. Also watch out for thyroid changes, especially if you have ever been pregnant.

Mammogram tests – Some doctors recommend getting your first breast mammogram done at age 40, while others say you can wait until age 50. Dr. Peeke says it all comes down to your personal health and family history. If you have breast cancer in your family, get it done now. That is also her advice if your breasts are lumpy or if you have any other breast issues. Talk to your gynecologist now so you can decide together what timing is right for you.


Mammogram tests

Colonoscopy tests – I am repeatedly amazed at how many women schedule this test for their husbands but not for themselves! This is a no-brainer in my book. Make time for yourself and get it done. Early detection means colon problems can easily be resolved. You owe it to yourself to take care of this now.

Hormone level tests –Get your hormones checked and talk to your doctor to make an informed decision about what you can do to ease through menopause rather than suffering through it.

Blood pressure checks

Eye exams

Hearing tests – Don’t risk missing out on anything you enjoy because you can’t hear. Get your hearing tested now and get help if you need it.

We women are so good at taking care of others but too often we forget to take care of ourselves. That’s part of the reason I love Women’s Health Week, which is May 11-17 this year. It’s a great annual reminder for all of us to all to get our annual exams and take better care of ourselves. Whenever you are reading this, now is the perfect time to get caught up. Take care of your health. Your family will thank you for it!

Add a Comment2 Comments

Dr. Pam did a pretty good job on most of these items, but there are several serious, one might say, glaring, errors that could damage women's health in major ways.
Let's start with mammograms: they under diagnose breast cancer AND over diagnose it. That is to say, 30% of Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) is missed by mammograms (false negative), another 30% is diagnosed when it is absent (false positive) for an accuracy rate of 40%. Not only that, the process itself is harmful since both the radiation and compression can damage tissue.
The harm from a false negative is obvious. The harm from a false positive, highlighted recently in an article in the British Medical Journal (Possible Net Harms of Breast Cancer Screening: Updated Modelling of Forrest Report, British Medical Journal, December 8, 2011: 343; d7627) comes about through lumpectomies, mastectomies and other unnecessary interventions such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Just how good is the diagnostic acumen of pathologists after a mammogram shows DCIS? Not very.
Despite what most people believe, there simply are no diagnostic standards for D.C.I.S. Even if there were such standards, there are no requirements that the pathologists doing the readings have specialized expertise or training in this area.
Shahla Masood, MD, is the head of pathology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville. She told the New York Times: "There are studies that show that diagnosing these borderline breast lesions occasionally comes down to the flip of a coin."

Hmm. I want to bet my life on the flip of a pathologist's coin and I'll bet you do, too!

As if that were not bad enough, it turns out that the pre-menopausal breast is particularly sensitive to radiation so that " each 1 rad exposure increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade's screening." according to renowned environmental physician, Dr. Samuel Epstein.

Actually, it is worse than that: mammograms, despite the super pink ribbons on everything hype, do very little, perhaps nothing at all, to save the lives of the people who get them: "A 10 percent reduction [in death from breast cancer - Dr. Rima] would mean that if 1,000 50-year-old women were screened over a decade, 996 women rather than 995.6 would not die from the cancer — an effect so tiny it may have occurred by chance." according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (New England Journal of Medicine September 23, 2010; 363(13):1203-10).

Dr. Charles B. Simone, who was a clinical associate in immunology and pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute, says,
"Mammograms increase the risk for developing breast cancer and raise the risk of spreading or metastasizing an existing growth."
Thermography, which detects the heat that a tumor generates (tumors have increased blood flow and metabolic rates compared to normal tissue) on the other hand, accurately identifies cancers years before they become apparent on any other visualization or test. It is safe, inexpensive, quick and accurate. Obviously a good choice if health is the issue, but not if billable services is the point of the exercise.
Diet, exercise, self-examination and high antioxidant intake are vital to prevention of cancer, breast or otherwise. It would be far wiser to have a discussion with your patient, Dr. Pam, about these issues than to write a prescription for a mammogram.

Second, the cholesterol screening is absurd. A very small percentage of people actually have high cholesterol. What they do have is high oxidative stress (free radical damage) plus artificially lowered cholesterol standards.
Dr. Pam, you would be well advised to go back to biochemistry and review where cholesterol comes from and what it does in the body. Drug companies have a huge, and totally disingenuous, interest in making sure that more people, and ever more people, take cholesterol-lowering drugs.
First of all, they are block buster money producers. Second of all, they lead to a great many other problems, all of which lead then to the consumption of more, and ever more, medical services and drugs.
For example, every sex hormone is built on a cholesterol scaffold: lower cholesterol and you have just guaranteed the sale of a great deal of medication designed to compensate, for example, in men, for erectile dysfunction and in women, in hormone replacement therapy.
Not only that, lowering cholesterol, which comprises more than 50% of the brain by weight, will result in depression and other emotional and mental illnesses: more drug bounty! And, as we know, once people get on the psychoactive medication drug merry-go-round, they usually stay on it for the rest of their lives. Mmmmm! MMMMoney!
Wait! There's more! The body actually produces cholesterol for a reason: it acts as a bandage when damage occurs to the living of the walls of the arteries so if the body is making a lot of it, there is probably a need for it. Why not treat that instead of damaging an essential response mechanism that the body is using to protect and heal itself? Well, because that takes time, which doctors have allowed to be ripped from them by agreeing to practice medicine the same way that you build a car: in tiny, disconnected segments, without adequate time to know, and care for, their patients.
The drug companies have been deeply instrumental in artificially and nonsensically lowering "normal" cholesterol levels. Why? so they can sell drugs to younger and therefore more, people, now to include children as young as eight years.
No, Dr. Pam, the issue is not cholesterol level. It is antioxidant level and chronic inflammation.
All of these conditions can be first prevented and then treated with nutrients, life style alterations and detoxification. All of them.
I know, because I have been doing that in my drug-free practice of medicine and psychiatry for more than 40 years as a licensed physician.
Oh, and high quality vitamins and mineral supplements are essential, since they are deficient in modern foods and make believe, processed and poisoned PHUDES. These dangerous imitation pseudo-nutrients are the product of industrial production and are seriously toxic.
How about discussing that with your patients, Dr. Pam?
I do.
Oh, yes, although it was not mentioned in the article, if you are interested in your patient's well-being as they move through the life cycle, Dr. Pam, I advise you to advise your patients that any vaccine will weaken their immune systems and, in fact, shots like the flu shot, which contains aluminum as well as mercury, will increase their chances of developing neuro degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease by hundreds of percentage points for each time they get vaccinated.
You might also want to be sure to advise against such absurdities as the shingles (Herpes zoster) vaccine which, according to the CDC, seriously harms 1 patient for each 2.8 patients vaccinated with it and does not work in something like, again, according to the CDC, 98-99% of cases.
Yours in health and freedom,
Dr. Rima
Rima E Laibow, MD
Medical Director
Natural Solutions Foundation
Facebook: /NaturalSolutionsFoundation

May 15, 2014 - 7:33pm
EmpowHER Guest

I would like to emphasis on the rates of teens and young adults( under 25) getting STD's. The numbers are growing, especially those with chlamydia and herpes. It is really important for schools to provide sex education as a form of intervention. Having an STD affects your life in significant ways. For example your social life. The fear people have to date, the anxiety of telling someone with whom it seems to be serious that they have an STD. I'm really glad that there are websites such as PositiveSingle to help, knowing most of the people in the group age I mentioned spend a lot of their time online.

May 13, 2014 - 8:34pm
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