The human body goes through a lot of changes from birth until old age. As we age, our metabolism and other processes get slower which can lead to various health conditions like diabetes and hypertension. This makes it extremely important to get health checkups done, and make the transition easier and healthier for the body. The thirties are a crucial time for women trying to strike work-life balance. Juggling work stress and other countless responsibilities can have a negative impact on the health. The best way to prevent lifestyle diseases and nip them in the bud is to go for yearly checkups, said Dr Geeta Aurangabadkar, clinical director, Proactive For Her.
Read on to know the five important tests every woman should get done when they turn 30.
Complete blood count
A complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test used to evaluate the overall health and detect a wide range of disorders, including anaemia, infection and in rare cases, even blood cancer. A complete blood count test measures several components of your blood, including red blood cells (R.B.C s), white blood cells (W.B.C s), haemoglobin, Hematocrit (Hct) and platelets.
“It is estimated that 52 per cent of non-pregnant women of reproductive age are anaemic. At the brink of your 30’s, this test is commonly used as a screening test to detect anaemia. This may lead to further clues about common nutrient deficiencies that may cause anaemia, such as iron or B12. CBC is also done to monitor your overall health and treatment (if you are undergoing any),” she expressed.
The lipid profile measures the amount of specific fat molecules called lipids in the blood. A panel test, it measures multiple substances, including several types of cholesterol. This test helps to check for the risk of heart diseases and the health of blood vessels. Knowledge of this could help someone modify their eating habits, diet, stress, exercise and lifestyle in a positive direction, said Dr Aurangabadkar. “You will be surprised to learn that thyroid disorders and PCOS are commonly associated with unfavorable lipid profile,” she shared.
Thyroid function test
Almost 1 in 10 women in India have underactive thyroid issues. As the symptoms are usually slow initially and often go unnoticed for a long time, it’s important to screen yourself for thyroid problems. “Most commonly reported symptoms are irregular periods, unexplained weight gain, hair loss or infertility,” she said.
A simple blood check is all that is required to test for an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
Diabetes is seen in more than one in 10 women aged 35-49 years, she noted. As per Dr Aurangabadkar, symptoms of diabetes can be there in the background without one’s knowledge for a long time. Diabetes can cause your blood sugar (blood glucose) to rise to abnormally high levels because of your body’s inability to either produce or use insulin properly. Insulin is essential for the body to utilise blood sugar for energy, she mentioned.
Notably, India accounts for nearly one-fourth of the world’s cervical cancer deaths, said Dr Aurangabadkar. “A Pap smear is a simple screening procedure for cervical cancer and picks up problems at an early stage. It is also used to detect changes in cervical cells that may turn cancerous later on and need to be monitored further,” she explained.
The procedure involves examination by your gynaecologist or a trained nurse who takes a sample by gentle scraping of cells from your cervix which later are examined under the microscope for abnormal cells or any infection. Women aged 30 and older can consider testing every 5 years which would combine a Pap smear with an HPV test (Human papillomavirus).
“Your sexual health is as important as your physical health. Go for an STI panel test if you are sexually active,” she said.
“Staying healthy requires effort, commitment and vigilance. A healthy diet and exercise is only half the job. Annual health checkups should be given utmost priority to weed out problems before they create havoc. It’s time to take control of your health and your life,” said Dr Aurangabadkar.