Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Checkup Checklist

Miriam Bloch

How can you navigate the plethora of health measures today’s medical world offers? Here are some common and important preventive measures experts recommend for every woman

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

 Mishpacha image

Like healthy eating and exercise, screening should be viewed as another routine way to manage your health

“I feel perfectly fine — why should I get poked and prodded and waste my time at the doctor’s office for some testing?”

That’s how many women feel about health screenings — sometimes even when symptoms are already apparent. “Pushing things off when it comes to health care is almost inevitable for many women, given the responsibilities many of them face,” says Dr. Melinda S. Mann, who sees women daily in her capacity as obstetrician-gynecologist at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Dr. Mann has observed what she calls “the toothache phenomenon” — rather than go for a checkup when symptoms are mild or at the first occurrence of pain, many wait until their symptoms are so severe that care becomes urgent.

“Please don’t wait until you hear about your friend’s serious diagnosis to go to your doctor,” Dr. Mann says. “A small problem needs a small solution and a big one needs a big solution, so why wait until you need the big solution? Care could become more complicated when health issues are not taken care of straight away. Infections grow. Issues develop. Take your early symptoms to your doctor and get yourself checked.”

Like healthy eating and exercise, screening should be viewed as another routine way to manage your health. How do you know which screenings are right for you? Check out this list of recommended health screening tests for women by age.

Age 20–40

Blood Pressure Screening

Why it’s important: “Hypertension — also known as high blood pressure — is a risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic kidney disease, and peripheral vascular disease,” says Dr. Tzipora Wolff of Bishvilaych, a women’s health clinic in Jerusalem. “It’s often called ‘the silent killer,’ as it usually causes no symptoms at all.”

Over time, elevated blood pressure damages blood vessels and can lead to serious disease and disability. Screening for hypertension, says Dr. Wolff, is a way to detect and treat this disorder before it causes damage. Hypertension is treated with lifestyle modification — a low-salt diet, exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep — and if necessary, medication (if blood pressure remains elevated despite intervention).

“A small problem needs a small solution and a big one needs a big solution, so why wait until you need the big solution?”

When and how often: According to Healthline, a digital health information provider, blood pressure should be checked every two years if it’s 120/80 or under. Dr. Wolff, however, advises yearly blood pressure screening in all adults over age 18. If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should also be screened for diabetes (see sidebar). Additionally, says Dr. Wolff, you’ll need to be counseled to reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, inadequate sleep, and smoking habits.

Note: Hypertension is defined in two stages: Stage one refers to blood pressure readings in the range of 130 to 139 over 80 to 89. This indicates blood pressure that is elevated but may resolve with lifestyle intervention, and requires close monitoring. Stage two refers to blood pressure readings higher than 140/90. Patients with stage two hypertension often require pharmacological treatment to control their blood pressure.

Dental Screening

Why it’s important: To rule out oral cancer (often associated with smoking and drinking, and therefore not so common among the frum female community), but also to combat gum disease and treat tooth decay.

When and how often: All adults are advised to have twice-yearly dental checkups and cleanings. If you are pregnant or taking hormone medications, you may be more likely to suffer gum inflammation and may need to be checked more frequently. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 587)

Related Stories

Invisible Illness

Shifra Ernest

Why pain is such a puzzle to quantify, what it’s like to live with constant pain — and a look at som...

Reach the Core

Leah Gebber

Faigy Zelcer, founder of Penimi, has developed comprehensive curriculums that empower teens to face ...

Riding the Roller Coaster Together

Esther Ilana Rabi

Being married to an entrepreneur can be a bumpy ride, but, if navigated with wisdom and sensitivity,...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
At Our Doorstep
Rabbi Moshe Grylak In Israel, intermarriage still has some shock value
The Wrong Conversation
Yonoson Rosenblum How can we reattach Jews to the Jewish story?
Heart on Your Sleeve
Eytan Kobre Being pro-phylactery can be downright prophylactic
The Silver Lining
Alexandra Fleksher Who is brave enough to buck the dangerous trends?
Top 5 Uniquely Jewish Words
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin For some concepts, Yidden have the best words
10 Questions for Avi Kehat
Rachel Bachrach The Chesed Fund, for desperate people who need a fortune
On Speaking Terms
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman He learned firsthand, “What goes around comes around”
Stressed Out
Jacob L. Freedman “We’re going to aggressively help you take care of you”
Mona Knew to Pick a Winner
Riki Goldstein “Shloime, let’s sing this on Motzaei Shabbos”
Four Stanzas You Don’t Just Sing
Riki Goldstein “This is not a niggun that you just sing!” he exclaimed
A Part of Me
Riki Goldstein The fruit of two years’ preparation and collaboration
Worth the Hassle?
Riki Goldstein Travel can be challenging for musicians and bands
Know It All
Faigy Peritzman The wiser I get, the more I realize how little I know
No Time to Breathe
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When we don’t have a minute to spare is when we pause
On Dry Ground
Rebbetzin Shira Smiles Every day we thank Hashem for the miracle of dry land