Women lead very busy lives fulfilling roles professionally as well as personally, and it can sometimes be difficult to pay attention to one’s health. In addition to health issues that affect men and women equally, there are some conditions unique to women or that affect women disproportionately. Use the resources in this article to learn about these conditions, the ways that lab tests can help identify and/or monitor these conditions and what you can do to stay healthy and extend your healthy years.
Learn about general health screenings for women
Preventive medicine is one area of healthcare in which all women can exercise more responsibility and control over their health. Getting regular screening tests for common health problems is a simple and effective first step.
Screening tests can give you and your healthcare provider the information needed to identify health risks and take preventive measures before they become more serious problems. Getting routine tests performed even though you have no symptoms can help detect problems early and help you benefit from easier and more effective treatment. It can sometimes even prevent disease.
Two panels of tests are frequently used as general health screenings. These tests can screen for a number of health issues at the same time. Your healthcare practitioner may order these when you have a general health examination:
|Blood Test Panels||Examples of Conditions Screened|
|Complete blood count (CBC)||Anemia, infection, iron deficiency, bleeding disorders|
|Complete metabolic panel (CMP)||Liver disease, kidney disease, electrolyte and acid/base balance|
It’s easy to take these tests for granted, but their power to keep you healthier longer should not be underestimated. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about getting the recommended health screenings. Learn about other screening tests that can help keep you healthy:
|Heart disease, high cholesterol||Lipid panel|
|High blood pressure||Blood pressure reading|
|Obesity||Body Mass Index (BMI)|
|Sexually transmitted diseases||Chlamydia, Gonorrhea tests|
|HIV||HIV antibody and antigen test|
|Cervical cancer||HPV test, Pap smear|
|Colon cancer||Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and fecal immunochemical test (FIT), colonscopy|
Do you take biotin for healthier hair, skin and nails?
You should know that if you take biotin pills or supplements, it can interfere with some laboratory tests. If you are scheduled to have some lab work done and take biotin, read the articles New Guideline Addresses Biotin Interference in Some Lab Tests and Biotin Affects Some Blood Tests Results to learn more.
Learn about some conditions that can affect women's health
Understand conditions that can affect women’s health and learn about some related tests that may be done to help screen for, diagnose and/or monitor the course and treatment of these conditions:
Pregnancy is a unique time in a woman’s life that puts extra stress on her body and health. Prenatal care is important for ensuring your health during this special time as well as ensuring the health of your developing baby or babies. You should plan a visit to your healthcare practitioner when you are planning a pregnancy or when you think you are pregnant, so you can get an early start on a wellness plan.
When you are planning a pregnancy or already expecting, your healthcare practitioner will likely recommend that several tests be done. Prenatal tests are used to screen for and diagnose any existing problems that may affect your health or baby’s health, identify and address problems as they arise, and assess the risk of a baby having a chromosomal or genetic disorder. The tests generally require just a small sample of easily obtained blood, urine, or cervical cells.
Some of these tests are performed prior to a pregnancy and at specified times throughout the pregnancy. Others are ordered as needed to detect and address conditions or problems that arise during pregnancy. Still others are offered to women who have increased risks because of their age or other factors and, finally, certain tests are selectively chosen based on the personal and family medical histories of the woman and her partner.
To learn more about the recommended tests during pregnancy, read the following articles: