The second Monday of each May is designated National Women’s Check-Up Day. It’s designed to raise awareness of the importance of annual health exams and routine care. Is your mom caught up? Does she need the help of senior home care to get to doctor appointments and other medical consultations? These are the exams and blood tests women should receive regularly and how often they’re recommended.
Your mom’s doctor should check her blood pressure each year. If she has high blood pressure or there’s a family history of it, she may have to check it more often.
Her doctor may recommend that she purchase a blood pressure cuff to use at home. If it is recommended, make sure she uses it regularly and records the reading in a notebook or an online health page if her doctor uses that technology. You or another caregiver may need to help her access her online health chart.
Blood Sugar Tests
A blood draw is used to test sugar levels in the bloodstream. This is how diabetes is diagnosed. If the test shows her blood sugar levels are normal, she will be retested every few years.
Bone Density Screening
Bone density screenings check for signs of low bone density, which is an indicator of osteoporosis. Your mom will undergo this x-ray every two years. If she’s found to have osteoporosis, yearly DEXA scans may be recommended.
Cholesterol screenings are performed through a blood test. Generally, they’re recommended every four to six years. Your mom may need to have them done more often if she’s on medications for high cholesterol.
A colonoscopy is performed around the age of 45 and from there, the frequency depends on the results of the first test. If your mom is found to have colorectal cancer, she will need more frequent testing. Otherwise, it’s done every ten years.
Hepatitis C Screening
Women born between 1945 and 1965 may be advised to have a blood test completed to check for hepatitis C. As this disease damages the liver, it’s important to be screened and get treated as early as possible.
People who have had a blood transfusion have a high risk. Sharing razors, toothbrushes, and direct blood contact are other ways it is spread, though this is less common.
A mammogram should be completed every year to catch breast cancer in the earliest possible stages. If your mom’s breast tissue is determined to be dense, she may need to have an ultrasound exam performed, too.
A pap smear is recommended to catch cervical cancer. Some doctors will offer an HPV test instead. Either way, after the age of 30, if your mom’s pap smears have been clean, she may not need to have this test more often than every five years. After the age of 65, she may not need to undergo these tests anymore.
Is there something you could do to ensure your mom doesn’t miss her appointments? Could she use more support at home with meals, medication reminders, and personal care? Arrange senior home care services to cover the supportive care she needs the most.