Naturally, we get more health-conscious as we get older because the risk of certain conditions increases with age. Regular health checks can find problems before they start, and early diagnosis gives a better chance for treatment to work.
One in three women do not check their breasts regularly for lumps and many do not know exactly what to look out for. Most lumps in younger women are benign cysts, but it is wise to self-check every month in the days after your period.
Cervical screen test
A cervical screening test known as smear test is a way of detecting abnormal cells in the cervix. Detecting and removing any abnormal cells can help prevent cervical cancer. Women between the ages of 25 and 49 are screened every three years.
Blood pressure should be checked every two years if your reading is normal and every year if abnormal. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, kidney failure or stroke. Detecting problems early can save your life.
High cholesterol is another risk factor for a heart attack, and a simple blood test can detect high levels. The normal healthy level is lower than 100 milligrams per decilitre of blood. Any reading higher than 130 is not healthy, so changes should be made to your diet.
If you have multiple partners or a new partner, you should get tested annually for sexually transmitted diseases. Chlamydia and gonorrhoea usually require a urine sample, while HIV and syphilis needs a blood sample. There are clinics available for STI testing in London and around the country, or you can order a kit for home testing like https://www.checkurself.org.uk/order-a-test-kit/.
Thyroid function tests are blood tests that help to check the levels of hormones made by your thyroid gland. These are mainly used to detect either an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). People with Type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of thyroid problems.
Fair-skinned women are at more risk than dark-skinned women of contracting melanoma; as are those who regularly use tanning beds. Do a self-test every month, checking for any changes in spots or moles. Colour and size changes should be reported to your GP.
Regular health checks, good exercise and a healthy diet can help you live a longer and happier life.