Prevention Is Key To Longevity: Medical Checkups For Women (infographic)

Prevention Is Key To Longevity: Medical Checkups For Women (infographic)

Regular checkups and communication with your physician can help you live a longer and healthier life. Prevention is the key to many of the top disease killers in America. The sooner you catch a progressive, degenerative disease, the more likely you are to treat it effectively and, for this reason, live a better quality of life. Communication about your family history of diseases, as well as lifestyle habits and regular screenings, may be the difference between life and death. Continue reading to learn about the top diseases to look out for in each decade, from your 20s and beyond.


Prevention is Key to Longevity

20s

Melanoma

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It is the most common cancer among 20-year-olds and women are six times greater to have skin cancer than even 40 years ago. It’s important to start screening now as most sun damage happens before you are 20 years of age.


Ways to avoid developing this deadly skin cancer:

Wear sunscreen every day. Many makeup, moisturizer, and lotion brands now carry SPF protection. Cover up when exposed to prolonged periods of sun. Wearing loose, tight-knit clothing like cotton will help you cool off while protecting you from the sun.


Prescreening:

Self-examination is essential. Make sure that you examine your skin for abnormal moles or growth in existing ones. Seeking a professional skin exam from your physician during your yearly checkup is also important as your physician can assess your risk factors. Some risk factors can include history of skin cancer in your family, duration of sun exposure and sunburns at an early age.


HPV

Human Papilloma Virus is an umbrella term for 150 virus strains, some causing cervical cancer. Women in their 20s are the most susceptible to the virus, making it is important to discuss prevention with your doctor.


Ways to avoid contracting HPV:

Preventative measures you can take to avoid getting HPV include wearing contraception before sexual intercourse as well as getting a vaccination. There are currently two FDA-approved HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix. Speaking with your health care provider about your risks and choosing a prevention plan that works best for you is important.


Prescreening:

Pap tests done by your physician starting at age 21 can detect the HPV virus. Early detection can be vital as the virus is progressive, and some strains can cause cancer.


Breast Cancer

Though only 5 percent of women get breast cancer under the age of 40, it is important to develop good habits of prevention now as it is the No. 1 cancer killer of women.


Ways to avoid developing breast cancer:

Knowing your risk factors for breast cancer is the first step to managing them. Things like family history of breast cancer, age, and health are all contributors to the disease. Though we do not yet know the cause of breast cancer, as with many cancers, it seems to be a multidimensional disease.


Prescreening:

Self breast exams are important and should take place in between your clinical breast exam. Clinical breast exams should begin in your 20s and frequency of exams will depend on your risk factors as discussed with your physician. Mammogram testing should begin at age 40 and beyond.


High Cholesterol

It is important to begin managing your blood cholesterol and blood pressure now as it could save you in the long run. Many diseases, especially heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer of women, develop after years of neglect of your health so it is important to begin health conscious behavior now.


Ways to avoid developing high cholesterol:

High cholesterol is usually easily remedied with modifications to diet and exercise. Some people are predisposed to higher cholesterol, and they might need medication as well. Other risk factors of high cholesterol include smoking and alcohol intake.


Prescreening:

It is important to catch and manage high cholesterol as early as possible, as many serious health risks may arise the longer it goes untreated. During your yearly physical exam, ask your physician about cholesterol testing as well as your risk factors.


Breast Cancer

It is important to continue self and clinical breast examinations, especially if you are at more risk.


Ways to avoid developing breast cancer:

Knowing your risk factors for breast cancer is the first step to managing them. Things like family history of breast cancer, age, and health are all contributors to the disease. Though we do not yet know the cause of breast cancer, as with many cancers, it seems to be a multidimensional disease.


Prescreening:

Self breast exams are important and should be done in between your clinical breast exam. These should begin in your 20s and frequency of exams will depend on your risk factors as discussed with your physician. Mammogram testing should begin at age 40 and beyond.


Cervical Cancer

Most women with cervical cancer are diagnosed before their 50s. About 50 percent are diagnosed between their late 30s to mid-50s.


Ways to avoid developing cervical cancer:

The primary cause of cervical cancer is the HPV virus, so vaccination or preventative methods like contraceptive used during sexual intercourse are essential. Other ways to lower your risk of cervical cancer are to maintain a normal weight based on your age, gender and height as well as eating healthy and quitting smoking.


Prescreening:

Regular Pap testing or HPV testing by your physician is the best way to catch this progressive disease. Your physician will know what testing will mean for you whether that is every two to three years or every year depending on your family history, sexual activity, and other risk factors.


Thyroid

The peak onset of thyroid cancer in women is between ages 30 and 50, so screening now is a good way to be proactive.


Ways to avoid developing thyroid cancer:

Though the causes of thyroid cancer are relatively unknown, family history of the disease, radiation exposure from X-rays, and an iodine deficiency are some of the factors linked to the disease. So familiarize yourself with your family history and eat foods high in iodine, such as seafood or use iodine enriched salt.


Prescreening:

Self-examination of your throat and neck area for any lumps can be done in between your regular physical exam. Your doctor then usually examines your neck for any abnormalities during your appointment.


40s

Breast Cancer

It is a good time to stay preventative about breast cancer as you are almost entering the years where breast cancer rates are highest. Catching breast cancer in its early stages greatly improves your odds of survival.


Ways to avoid developing breast cancer:

Knowing your risk factors for breast cancer is the first step to managing them. Things like family history of breast cancer, age, and health are all contributors to the disease. Though we do not yet know the cause of breast cancer, as with many cancers, it seems to be a multidimensional disease.


Prescreening:

Self breast exams are important and should be done in between your clinical breast exam. These should begin in your 20s and frequency of exams will depend on your risk factors as discussed with your physician. Mammogram testing should start at age 40 and beyond.


Cervical Cancer

Most women with cervical cancer are diagnosed before their 50s, about 50 percent are diagnosed between their late-30s to mid-50s.


Ways to avoid developing cervical cancer:

Main cause of cervical cancer is the HPV virus, so vaccination or preventative methods like contraceptive use during sexual intercourse are essential. Other ways to lower your risk of cervical cancer are to maintain a normal weight based on your age, gender and height as well as, eating healthy and quite smoking.


Prescreening:

Regular Pap testing or HPV testing by your physician is the best way to catch this progressive disease. Your physician will know what testing will mean for you whether that being every two to three years or every year depending on your family history, sexual activity, and other risk factors.


Thyroid

The peak onset of thyroid cancer in women is between ages 30 to 50, so screening now is a good way to be proactive.


Ways to avoid developing thyroid cancer:

Though the causes of thyroid cancer are relatively unknown, family history of the disease, radiation exposure from x-rays, and an iodine deficiency are some of the factors linked to the disease. So familiarize yourself with your family history and eat foods high in iodine, such as seafood or use iodine enriched salt.


Prescreening:

Self-examination of your throat and neck area for any lumps can be done in between your regular physical exam. Your doctor then usually examines your neck for any abnormalities during your appointment.


Heart Disease

Your risk of heart disease increases substantially after menopause, which on average occurs in your mid-40s.


Ways to avoid developing heart disease:

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S., so it is important to manage risk factors and receive regular examinations from your physician. Regulating your weight and exercise as well as your blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels are the first steps to managing your likelihood of developing the disease.


Prescreening:

Regular check-ups done by a physician will test for some of the risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Depending on your risk factors, your physician might also schedule you for a C-reactive Protein Screening, which can also monitor your chances of heart disease.


50s

Breast Cancer

77 percent of breast cancer diagnoses occur in women 50 and over.


Ways to avoid developing breast cancer:

Knowing your risk factors for breast cancer is the first step to managing them. Things like family history of breast cancer, age, and health are all contributors to the disease. Though we do not yet know the cause of breast cancer, as with many cancers, it seems to be a multidimensional disease.


Prescreening:

Self breast exams are important and should be done in between your clinical breast exam. These should begin in your 20s and frequency of exams will depend on your risk factors as discussed with your physician. Mammogram testing should begin at 40 and beyond.


Colon Cancer

80 percent of all Americans diagnosed with colon cancer are in their mid-60s but for women this starts a bit earlier in their 50s.


Ways to avoid developing Colon Cancer:

The top risk factors for colon cancer are obesity, lack of exercise, diabetes, low fiber diet and family history of colon cancer. African-American women are also at a higher risk of developing this cancer.


Prescreening:

Everyone 50 and older should start colon cancer screening tests. The regularity of these tests depends on your risk factors and your physician's assessment of these risk factors.


Stroke

It is important to start managing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels as these can lead to a greater risk of a stroke in your later years.


Ways to avoid having a stroke:

High blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise all increase your risk of having a stroke.


Prescreening:

People who are at a higher risk of a stroke should start stroke screening as early as in their 40s while adults with normal risk factors should start screening in their 50s. Talk to your physician about your risk factors so they can formulate a personal action plan for your health.


Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is most common among women in their 50s and 60s so prevention and early detection are key.


Ways to avoid developing ovarian cancer:

This type of cancer is most common among Caucasian women, 50 and over who are overweight with a history of the disease.


Prescreening:

Although there is a lot of research in developing screening tests, right now there are not many options for regular testing for ovarian cancer. You should already be getting a regular gynecologic examination but ask your physician for a pelvic exam as well if you do not already get one.


Heart Disease

After menopause, women are at greater risk of heart disease. Women over age 55 are at the greatest risk so managing your health is important to reducing your risk factors.


Ways to avoid developing heart disease:

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S., so it is important to manage risk factors and receive regular examinations from your physician. Regulating your weight and exercise as well as your blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels are the first steps to managing your likelihood of developing the disease.


Prescreening:

Regular checkups done by a physician will test for some of the risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Depending on your risk factors, your physician might also schedule you for a C-reactive Protein Screening, which can also monitor your chances of heart disease.


Thyroid

The peak onset of thyroid cancer in women is between ages 30 and 50, so screening now is a good way to be proactive.


Ways to avoid developing thyroid cancer:

Though the causes of thyroid cancer are relatively unknown, family history of the disease, radiation exposure from X-rays, and an iodine deficiency are some of the factors linked to the disease. Familiarize yourself with your family history and eat foods high in iodine, such as seafood or use iodine enriched salt.


Prescreening:

Self-examination of your throat and neck area for any lumps can be done in between your regular physical exam. Your doctor then usually examines your neck for any abnormalities during your appointment.


Cervical Cancer

Most women with cervical cancer are diagnosed before their 50s, about 50 percent are diagnosed between their late-30s and mid-50s.


Ways to avoid developing cervical cancer:

The main cause of cervical cancer is the HPV virus, so vaccination or preventative methods like contraceptive use during sexual intercourse are essential. Other ways to lower your risk of cervical cancer are to maintain a normal weight based on your age, gender and height as well as, eating healthy and quitting smoking.


Prescreening:

Regular Pap testing or HPV testing by your physician is the best way to catch this progressive disease. Your physician will know what ‘regular’ testing will mean for you whether that being every two to three years or every year depending on your family history, sexual activity, and other risk factors.


60s

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis typically develops in your 60s and 70s and women are most susceptible.


Ways to avoid developing Osteoporosis:

Being a woman already greatly increases your risk of developing Osteoporosis, so it is important to take preventative measures. Risk factors for developing Osteoporosis include a history of the disease in your family, low body weight, and cigarette smoking.


Prescreening:

Because of your age and sex, your physician will probably recommend bone density tests during your physicals, but it is important to discuss your risk factors and family history with your physician so that you are both well informed to make the best choices for your health.


Heart Disease

Heart disease typically develops in women in their 60s.


Ways to avoid developing heart disease:

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S., so it is important to manage risk factors and receive regular examinations from your physician. Regulating your weight and exercise as well as your blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels are the first steps to managing your likelihood of developing the disease.


Prescreening:

Regular check-ups done by a physician will test for some of the risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Depending on your risk factors, your physician might also schedule you for a C-reactive Protein Screening, which can also monitor your chances of heart disease.


Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease

Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease is the fourth leading cause of death among adults ages 60 and above.


Ways to avoid developing lower respiratory disease:

Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease is one of the leading killers of adults age 65 and older. Risk factors for developing the disease include smoking, pollution and family history of the disease.


Prescreening:

Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease is an umbrella term for breathing problems such as Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis. Though these diseases are progressive and non-reversible, there are no prescreenings available for this disease. It is important to stay in communication with your physician about your risk factors as well as any symptoms you may experience.


Stroke

75 percent of all stroke victims are over 65-years-old so managing your risks as well as regular examinations by your physician are key to your health.


Ways to avoid having a stroke:

High blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise all increase your risk of having a stroke.


Prescreening:

People who are at a higher risk of a stroke should start stroke screening as early as in their 40s while adults with normal risk factors should start screening in their 50s. Talk to your physician about your risk factors so they can formulate a personal action plan for your health.


Colon Cancer

80 percent of all Americans diagnosed with colon cancer are in their mid-60s.


Ways to avoid developing Colon Cancer:

The top risk factors for colon cancer are obesity, lack of exercise, diabetes, low fiber diet and family history of colon cancer. African-American women are also at a higher risk of developing this cancer as well.


Prescreening:

People 50 and over should start colon cancer screening tests. The regularity of these tests depends on your risk factors and your physician's assessment of these risk factors.


Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is most common among women in their 50s and 60s so prevention and early detection are key.


Ways to avoid developing ovarian cancer:

This type of cancer is most common among Caucasian women, ages 50 and over who are overweight with a history of the disease.


Prescreening:

Although there is a lot of research in developing screening tests, right now there are not many options for regular testing for ovarian cancer. You should already be getting a regular gynecologic examination but ask your physician for a pelvic exam as well if you do not already get one.


70 and beyond

Though you have more risk factors than when you were younger, you can still live a healthy, quality life with proper health maintenance and regular checkups.


Talk to your family doctor about scheduling preventive screenings. Need a doctor? Visit UnityPoint Clinic (unitypoint.org) to find a doctor in your neighborhood.

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