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Screenings & Immunizations

(Posted on ChesterCountyMoms.com - May 1, 2013)

ScreeningsHaving routine checkups and preventative screening tests are essential to living a healthy life, but who has time to figure out everything you need and when you need it?

"Keeping up with preventive screenings and immunizations are so important to your overall health," explains Dr. Eduardo Mercurio, Ob/Gyn. "Many diseases don't show physical warning signs, but screenings can detect symptoms earlier, which allows treatment to be started sooner." This is especially important for moms of teenage daughters who may soon be entering the ages of recommended screenings. Setting your daughter up for a healthy life may be one of the simplest things you can do - if you know where to start.

In this post, you will find tips and tests for women of all ages. Then, jump to your age range to find out what you should be doing to stay in good health.

Every Woman, Every Age

Make sure you can mark these things off your mental checklist when thinking about your wellness, no matter your age. Starting at age 18, these guidelines can also help prepare your daughter for upcoming screenings she should have as well.

General Health:

  • Routine check-up, including height, weight and mole exam
  • Thyroid (TSH) Test - talk with your doctor
  • HIV Test - get this test at least once to find out your HIV status (talk to your doctor about repeat testing)

Heart Health:

  • Blood Pressure Test - every 2 years
  • Cholesterol Test - talk to your doctor

Skin Health:

  • Mole Exam - monthly self-exam

Ages 18-39

Immunizations:

  • Seasonal Influenza Vaccine - yearly
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Td/Tdap) Vaccine - every 10 years
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) - up to age 26, if not already completed vaccine series (discuss with your doctor)

Ages 40-49

Immunizations:

  • Seasonal Influenza Vaccine - yearly
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Td/Tdap) Vaccine - every 10 years

Bone Health:

  • Bone Density Screen - discuss with your doctor

Diabetes:

  • Blood Glucose or A1c - start at age 45, then every 3 years

Ages 50-64

Immunizations:

  • Seasonal Influenza Vaccine - yearly
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Td/Tdap) Vaccine - every 10 years
  • Herpes Zoster Vaccine (to prevent shingles) - starting at age 60, one time only

Bone Health:

  • Bone Density Screen - discuss with your doctor

Diabetes:

  • Blood Glucose or A1c - every 3 years

Colorectal Health (use 1 of these 3 methods):

  • Fecult Occult Blood Test - yearly

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (with fecal occult blood test) - every 5 years

  • Colonoscopy - every 10 years

Age 65+

Immunizations:

  • Seasonal Influenza Vaccine - yearly
  • Pneumococcal Vaccine - one time only
  • Tetanus-Diphtheria (Td) Booster Vaccine - every 10 years
  • Herpes Zoster Vaccine (to prevent shingles) - starting at age 60, one time only

Bone Health:

  • Bone Density Screen - get a bone mineral density test at least once and talk to your doctor about repeat testing

Diabetes:

  • Blood Glucose or A1c - every 3 years

Colorectal Health (use 1 of these 3 methods):

  • Fecult Occult Blood Test - yearly (talk to your doctor if over age 75)
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (with fecal occult blood test) - every 5 years (talk to your doctor if over age 75)
  • Colonoscopy - every 10 years (talk to your doctor if over age 75)

Family History

Know your family history to have further screenings. Below are some steps to take for common cases that may run in the family.

Breast Cancer:

  • Genetic Counseling (to discuss breast and ovarian cancer risk)
  • Breast MRI
  • Ovarian Cancer Tests

Other Cancers and Diabetes:

  • Genetic Counseling
  • Early Screening Tests

High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease:

  • Blood Pressure Test
  • Cholesterol Test

Risk Factors

Your lifestyle and family history has a big impact on your health, too - see if you fall into any of these categories to find out what further screenings may be best for you.

College Age:

  • MMR Vaccine
  • Varicella Vaccine

Smoker:

  • Blood Pressure Test
  • Cholesterol Test
  • Pneumococcal Vaccine

Overweight:

  • Blood Pressure Test
  • Cholesterol Test
  • Blood Glucose or A1c Test

Family History of Cancer or Diabetes:

  • Genetic Counseling
  • Early Screening Tests

Family History of High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease:

  • Blood Pressure Test
  • Cholesterol Test

Take charge of your health by knowing these screening and immunization guidelines for your age. These are recommendations only. Talk with your doctor to decide what is best for you.

These guidelines have been adapted from www.womenshealth.gov.

Last Updated: 5/1/2013