Sometimes life can get so busy with work, friends and family commitments, we often forget to pause and make sure we are looking after our own health. We can easily end up giving so much of our time and energy to those we care about, we neglect to check up on our own wellbeing.
From Pap smears (also known as cervical cancer tests) to pre-pregnancy check-ups, here are some of the most essential health checks for woman to have on a regular basis:
Cardiovascular health checks: Regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks are important as they provide information on the health of our blood vessels and heart. After the age of 18, people should get their blood pressure checked at least every two years.1
For those aged over 45, or have high blood pressure, it is recommended to get a regular blood test every five years to check cholesterol and blood lipid levels. For people who are at high risk of heart disease it is recommended to have tests every year or two.2
Immunisations: A yearly flu vaccination is recommended, especially if aged 65 years or older, pregnant (particularly if in the last trimester), have a chronic condition such as severe asthma or diabetes or are concerned about getting the flu.3
A family’s childhood immunisations should also be checked to ensure they are up to date and whether any boosters, such as tetanus, are required.4
Sleep Apnoea tests: Sleep apnoea is a chronic and debilitating sleep condition characterised by loud and persistent snoring, witnessed pauses in breathing and choking or gasping for air. Even though sleep apnoea is commonly associated with men, women can be affected by sleep apnoea too. An estimated three million Australians suffer from sleep apnoea, 80 per cent of which don’t know that they have it. We encourage people to take the Blooms The Chemist free online sleep quiz to check for signs and symptoms of sleep apnoea.
Blood glucose screening: It’s important to monitor our blood glucose levels, especially if we are at risk of diabetes.2 Depending on a person’s risk, testing blood glucose levels every one to three years is recommended.5 6
Pre-pregnancy check-up: For those couples planning on having a new child, a pre-pregnancy check-up is a good idea. This will assess any health risks like low iron, and provide recommendations on supplements and lifestyle factors for a healthy pregnancy. Regular checks throughout a pregnancy will monitor a baby’s development and the mother’s health.7
Breast Cancer Screening: It is so important to regularly self-monitor breasts, checking for lumps or any changes, and visiting a GP within a week of noticing any changes. A mammogram is recommended every two years for those aged over 50, until 74 years, and more regularly if the family has a history of breast cancer.
Annual dental check: Maintaining dental health with an annual dental check and daily hygiene practices is also important, and it is recommended a trip to the dentist is necessary if any issues present themselves.
Cervical cancer tests: Replacing the Pap smear, this test is recommended for people who have been sexually active or at the age of 25. It is important people have their first Cervical Screening Test two years after their last Pap test, and then every five years until aged 74.8
Skin checks: Monitoring skin for any changes to freckles, moles or skin blemishes cannot be underestimated. Having a regular skin examination with your doctor, especially for those at risk of skin cancer is recommended.9
Eye health checks: A regular optometrist examination is important, and this should be annually for those aged over 50. People can also check their eyes at home weekly with an Amsler grid. For anyone diagnosed with macular degeneration, or at risk of the disease, we recommend using the Amsler grid daily.11
Remember to also regularly see your GP for any chronic conditions.
Many of these check-ups are available for free at your local Blooms The Chemist, to find out more visit https://www.bloomsthechemist.com.au/health-services.
About The Author: Andria Aird has spent her entire career working in pharmacy and is passionate about delivering high-quality personal service and care. Joining Blooms The Chemist in 2018 as the Pharmacist-owner of Blooms The Chemist Port Coogee and Blooms The Chemist Joondalup, Andria continues to work closely with her customers and community to help people achieve optimal health and live their best life. She also enjoys mentoring her team and younger Pharmacists, helping to support the future of community pharmacy in Australia.
1 Health, B. Health Checks for Women. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/health-checks-for-women
6 Diabetes Monitoring. https://www.bloomsthechemist.com.au/diabetes-monitoring
7 Health, B. Health Checks for Women. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/health-checks-for-women
11 Testing Amsler Grid. https://www.mdfoundation.com.au/testing-amsler-grid#sthash.B8Nz74jx.dpuf