Mothers are always up on their toes to take care of their children, family, and friends. However, when it comes to taking care of their own health they mostly lag behind. While working moms get overwhelmed in balancing work and personal life, housemakers in the midst of their morning-to-night home managing schedules lose track of their own health. However, with the emergence of handy technologies and diagnostic services available 24x7 on your smartphone, monitoring health has become effortless. Therefore, mothers must not overlook their health and undergo these 10 essential tests, thereby pre-empting any potential health-related complications and ensuring timely intervention.
Here, Dr Monica Malik, Senior Consultant - Obstetrics and Gynaecologist, Apollo 24|7, and Apollo Hospitals, Sector 26, Noida, has listed 10 essential tests every mother should consider for optimal health.
The prevalence of diabetes in Indian women stands at 7.5 per cent which makes it imperative for all women, especially mothers to regularly get their blood sugar levels checked. Diabetes can adversely impact triggering long-term complications in women's health, particularly through their various phases including pregnancy, post-partum, lactation, and menopause. To diagnose diabetes, you can go for blood tests such as fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test, oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test.
Thyroid tests are equally important for women, however, often ignored. They evaluate the functioning of the thyroid gland which further impacts the health of women in numerous ways. Sometimes sudden weight gain or weight loss can be a significant indicator of the thyroid condition. Tests that women can undergo for thyroid include TSH (Thyroid-stimulating hormone) test or the T4 (Thyroxine) test or the overall thyroid profile test.
Due to an overburdened lifestyle, women are often vulnerable to hypertension condition. In this condition, patients suffer from high blood pressure. Therefore, it is highly important that women, particularly those above age 35, should get their blood pressure vitals checked at regular intervals of time. The normal blood pressure range is considered 120/80.
Lipid test measures levels of good and bad cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides which is essential for every woman, thanks to their lifestyle and food habits. Having excessive levels of cholesterol can result in the risk of heart problems and even stroke as one age because cholesterol canaccumulate in the blood vessels. For this test, one needs to fast for 12 hours, and is recommended after the age of 30 years, with a frequency of once in 5 years for individuals with normal results. However, individuals with high cholesterol levels or women with risk factors should have regular screenings every 6 months.
You may like to read
5. Vitamin D
Since women require sufficient levels of Vitamin D for healthy bone growth and an efficient immune system, as well as for protection against diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer, it is crucial for women to check their Vitamin D levels. As women age, their ability to produce Vitamin D decreases, which can lead to pain in limbs, frequent fractures, or low bone density. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a physician for testing, especially if any of these symptoms are noticed.
6. Pap Smear
To ensure early detection of cervical cancer, women over 30 years old should visit their gynecologist regularly for a full pelvic exam and a Pap smear test. Indian women can avoid this preventable cause of death by receiving the HPV vaccine, which is recommended for girls under 14 years of age in a two-dose regimen. Even if vaccinated, women over 21 years of age or who have been sexually active for less than 3 years should still undergo a Pap smear test as advised.
Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in India, emphasizing the importance of early detection. Every woman should undergo regular screenings, including a yearly mammogram for those over 40 and monthly self-examinations. Expert examinations can identify issues like lumps, pain, or discharge, and seeking professional help is recommended when in doubt.
8. Bone Mineral Density Test
Women are frequently affected by osteoporosis, which weakens and makes their bones fragile. This condition worsens after menopause due to lower estrogen levels, which impacts bone formation and maintenance. To identify the bone's strength and the risk of fractures, women who have attained menopause or have had a fracture are advised to undergo a bone mineral density test called the DEXA scan. However, because several women may have reduced bone density without knowing it, experts suggest undergoing this test every five years once a woman turns 35.
9. Complete Blood Count
A vital blood test for women as it helps identify various health conditions, including infections, anaemia, and blood disorders. Along with that, monitoring reproductive health is an essential component of CBC testing for women as it can detect heavy menstrual bleeding and a weakened immune system, making women vulnerable to infections during pregnancy and postpartum periods.
Allergen-specificIgE testing is crucial for diagnosing allergies in both men and women, but it holds particular significance for women who are pregnant or planning to conceive. Allergies can have adverse effects on both the mother and the developing foetus, and certain allergy medications may not be safe during pregnancy. Additionally, if a woman is breastfeeding, knowing her specific allergens can help her avoid consuming foods or substances that could cause an allergic reaction in her infant.
"These ten tests can play a significant role in transforming the health of every mother's life. Remember prevention is certainly better than cure. Therefore, early detection and being constantly aware of what is happening inside your body is always better," Dr Monica concludes.