You may say salud when you’re clinking wine glasses, but have you taken the necessary steps to make sure you’re in good health? Well, today is World Health Day, so no time like the present! We talked to Gigi El-Bayoumi, associate professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center about the most crucial check-ups women ages 20 to 40 need to get and she stressed the importance of looking at your current health status.
“A lot of advice depends the chronological age of the woman and her overall health status,” says Dr. El-Bayoumi. “We can all think of examples in which a 40-year-old woman is completely fit and is lucky to have good genes and no illnesses, and we can also think of 25-year-old women who are overweight and have chronic medical problems,” she adds. “It’s not a one size fits all.” So make sure to check with your physician about what checkups are necessary for you. And if in doubt, here are some of the more common ones, according to Dr. El-Bayoumi:
If you are not in a committed relationship, have one done yearly. The thing that’s changing is the HPV vaccine; HPV is the virus that causes cervical cancer. Latinas should consider getting that vaccine as they have a high rate of cervical cancer.
Get an HIV blood test as part of the pap smear depending on how many sexual partners you have. You should get checked for chlamydia and gonorrhea, and for women in the inner city, syphilis is making a comeback.
Get a blood test to check cholesterol. If there’s concern about a family history of diabetes, or if you're overweight, you should also get a diabetes test. If you're a vegetarian, check vitamin B12, and everyone should check their vitamin D level, which affects bone health.
We don’t recommend this for people under the age of 40, but if you have a relative who has had breast cancer in their 20’s, 30’s or 40’s, seek out a recommendation from a doctor.
Dental and Eye Checkups
Regular dental checks should happen every six months. Another thing that is forgotten about is eye care with an ophthalmologist. It doesn’t need to happen more than twice in your 20’s or 30’s, but if you have high blood pressure or glaucoma in your family, you should get checked every year.