Women’s Health Checklist: Recommended Health Screenings by Age

Women and men have unique requirements when it comes to being healthy. Apart from regular health checks, women and men need to pay special attention to certain parameters of their bodies to maintain all-around well-being.

In this article, we discuss a health checklist designed specifically for women, and the recommended health screenings by age.

We list out recommended screening tests by age so you can gain a better understanding of what you can expect when you head to your doctor’s office for a women’s health screening. 

Recommended Health Screenings by Age

Clinicians categorize these tests based on the prevalence and risk factors predisposing particular age groups to increased incidence of certain diseases. The age-based screenings are:

Tests you Need in Your Late Teens, 20s, and 30s

These tests cover disease screenings and bodily parameters that should be monitored when you’re in your early and later stages of youth. 

  • Physical Examination & Detailed Health History

    • A detailed health history forms the basis for understanding diseases you’re at a greater risk of contracting. 
    • Any family history of breast cancer, cervical cancer, late pregnancies, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cholesterol are immediately taken as points of significance and concern. 
    • Physical examinations involve a detailed assessment of your physical health and can also include certain imaging examinations utilizing X-rays if the doctor deems it necessary. 
    • Your lifestyle history, consumption of tobacco and alcohol is also taken into account. Conditions and risks associated with obesity and other lifestyle-linked diseases are also addressed.
    • Doctors usually recommend a yearly physical to keep up with your goals of maintaining perfect health and avoiding any potential complications from delayed diagnoses.
  • Screening Test for Breast Cancer

    • If you have a positive family history of breast cancer, your doctor will call you in for screening examinations to rule out any signs and prospects of breast cancer. 
    • If your family has a large number of women with a history of breast cancer, your doctor might even recommend genome sequencing to screen for breast cancer-linked genes and subsequent counseling. 

recommended health screenings by age

  • Pap Smear
    • Women, starting from their late teens, must get regular pap smears done to rule out any prospects of cervical cancer. 
    • Pap smears are to be carried out at regular intervals up to three or four times, following which the interval can be extended based on the discretion of your doctor. 
  • Sexually Transmissible Diseases Screening
    • Sexually active women should have regular screenings for sexually transmissible diseases. 
    • The importance of this panel increases if you have multiple sexual partners. 
    • These tests include screenings for conditions like HPV, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and herpes.
  • Complete Blood Panel
    • Blood panels examine and measure the number of various blood cells, components like hemoglobin content, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, mean corpuscular volume, WBC counts, and differential counts relative to other cells in the blood. 
    • Blood panels can help your doctor take a look at a basic picture of your body and figure out signs of conditions like anemia and certain infections.
  • Lipid Panel
    • A lipid panel measures the amount of cholesterol and freely floating fats, known as triglycerides present in your blood. 
    • The test measures the following components: 
      • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or ‘good’ cholesterol.
      • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol 
      • Very low-density lipoprotein or the riskiest form of cholesterol 
      • Triglycerides 
    • The test helps your doctor assess cholesterol levels and subsequent risks of heart disease so you can make any dietary and lifestyle changes in time if they’re necessary.
  • Sugar Panel
    • The sugar panel has become an increasingly important part of screening tests for young adults owing to the high rates of diabetes being detected in them. 
    • Your doctor will always include the sugar panel in your screening tests to regularly monitor your sugar levels. 
    • These tests are all the more important if your immediate family members have diabetes.
    • The test involves measuring your blood sugar while you’re fasting, after you’ve had a meal, and sometimes even at random periods during the day. 
  • Metabolic & Hormone Assays
    • Metabolic panels help your doctor take a look at the basic chemical make-up of your body. Any abnormalities in components like sodium, potassium, enzymes, calcium, magnesium, and other minerals can be important cues to detecting some errors of metabolism or early manifestations of diseases like nutritional deficiencies, neurological disorders, and heart disease. 
    • Hormone assays are one of the most important tests for women. An interplay of multiple hormones makes sure the physiological, mental, and reproductive health is kept in shape. These tests enable doctors to measure the exact quantities of circulating hormones in your body, and decipher the effects of any excess or deficiency. 

blood tests every woman should have

  • Blood Pressure Examination
    • Blood pressure, coupled with obesity and diabetes has become a major public health concern of the 21st century. 
    • Coupled with the other two conditions, it forms the unholy triad of lifestyle diseases that can complicate overall health and also increase your chances of heart disease, stroke, and cardiac arrest. 
    • The ideal blood pressure for young women is 120/80 mm of mercury. However, the levels increase naturally as you grow older, especially beyond forty. Your doctor will examine your blood pressure during your physical examinations or general visits.
  • Ocular and Dental Exams
    • Regular dental and eye examinations form an integral part of your health and you should make sure you pay a visit to both your dentist and ophthalmologist at least twice each year. 
    • Routine checkups make sure all concerns regarding your oral and ocular health are addressed in time by specialists.
  • Recommended Screening Tests by Age in your 40s, 50s, 60s, and Beyond

Most tests you took in the second and third decades of your life will likely continue even in the fourth, fifth, and sixth decades, albeit in intervals that can be either shorter or longer based on your health status and your doctor’s clinical judgment. Common women’s health screenings for this age group include: 

  • Dermatological Screening
    • Sun exposure increases with age, and you should prioritize visiting the dermatologist regularly to get any moles or warts looked at to rule out the possibility of melanomas and carcinomas. 
    • Women with sensitive skin and those with family histories of skin cancer should take special care to make sure they keep up with their appointments with skin specialists.
  • Bone Density & Osteoporosis Screening
    • Menopause can result in a reduction in serum calcium levels and also hamper calcium absorption from the diet. 
    • Any histories of bone fractures preceding the age of 50 warrant a bone density screening examination that will be ordered by your doctor. 
    • Persistently low calcium levels, vitamin D deficiency, a history of impaired menstrual health also calls for osteoporosis screenings. Be sure to let your doctor know the complete history of your conditions so that they can arrive at an accurate diagnosis. 
  • Breast Examinations & Mammography
    • Yearly or bi-yearly breast examinations will be conducted by your physician after you're older than 40. 
    • You can also request your physician to walk you through how to give yourself a breast exam so that you can conduct one yourself regularly. 
    • Depending on predisposing factors like medical, family, and genomic history, your doctor will suggest you get mammograms done at intervals they deem fit. 
    • Mammograms are specialized X-ray examinations that look for calcified bodies within your breast, that might call for further testing based on their location, size, and correlation with clinical findings.
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening
    • Once you cross the age of 45, your doctor will suggest regular stool examinations to start you off on basic colorectal cancer screenings. 
    • Doctors might also suggest colonoscopies, computed tomography, and abdominal ultrasound examinations every five years depending on the predisposing factors. 

women health screening

Apart from the recommended screenings by age and blood tests, you should also make sure you take the following screenings regularly- 

  • Mental health examination 
  • Vaccination assessment 
  • Drug abuse and toxicology screening
  • Nutritional assessments 

Women’s health screenings are regular and routine processes that help you keep up with your changing health. The goal of all medicine is to make sure disease is prevented, and that necessitates frequent examinations so that both you and your family can rest easy when it comes to your health. Depending on your health needs and concerns, make sure you speak to your doctor for further concerns regarding yearly physicals, screening tests, and health parameters you need to watch out for.