There’s a good reason the proverb goes ‘prevention is better than cure’. And it rings all the more true once you hit 40.
Ladies, in your 40s, there are a lot of subtle changes in your body that often go unnoticed. Instead of ignoring the symptoms and risking a major health problem later on, go in for routine tests. An annual visit to your doctor goes a long way in ensuring good health.
Dr Ravi Gaur, chief operating officer, Oncquest Laboratories, New Delhi, and Dr Madhu Goel, senior gynecologist, infertility specialist and associate director, Fortis La Femme, New Delhi recommend tests for women in their 40s:
Thyroid Test: Weight gain, hair loss, brittle nails, exhaustion, disturbances in the period cycle etc are few of the common complaints of women with hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland takes care of the metabolism of the body and hence has an important role to play.
Frequency: The levels of this hormone should be checked every year.
Bone Mineral Density Test: As you age, there will be constant declining levels of the hormone estrogen in a woman’s body leading to the problem of osteoporosis. This causes degeneration of the bones. This is a common occurrence and can lead to debilitating fractures.
Frequency: The bone mineral density should be done every 2 years.
Pelvic Examination: A pelvic examination, including pap smear and HPV test help in detecting cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is among the most common cancer seen in Indian women. So there’s no way you can ignore getting yourself checked.
Mammogram /ultrasonography: Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths in the world. Early detection can make a substantial difference to the survival rate. With the risk of breast cancer increasing with age, every woman should get mammogram /ultrasonography done and ensure constant follow-ups on the same. This is in addition to a clinical examination of breasts by a certified physician.
Apart from these, a blood sugar test, Hb A1C is required to rule out diabetes. This test should be done yearly as a part of routine health check.
A lipid profile test should be done to diagnose hypercholesteremia which is common among women after the age of 40.
In addition to these, tests like haemogram and regular eye checks should be done.