5 health tests every woman should have

Your health is not a gamble. Don't put off what you can do today for a later tomorrow. It might be too late.

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  • Most women have hectic schedules — the kids, husband, work and other matters — and tend to put their health aside. Some women assume as long as they feel physically healthy, there is nothing to worry about. They continue with their every day duties. Unfortunately, feeling good doesn't always mean you are healthy.

  • At one point in my life, I used to go without fail for an annual physical. But somewhere down the line, I discontinued the routine and stayed years without going to my doctor for a full body checkup. Until one day, my mother reinforced how important it was for me to schedule an appointment. I'm glad I listened to my mother because in my first visit back, I discovered a couple of health issues I never suspected. I may have not been able to rectify my problems, if I waited any longer. Regardless of how I am feeling, every year I schedule my annual physical. I choose to keep a close eye on what is happening to my body before it's too late.

  • It's understood that a busy schedule can deter you from taking care of your health. But you need to remember you are just as important as anyone else. And you deserve to live a healthy life along side family and friends.

  • Here are five important health tests you should have:

  • Mammogram

  • Though mammograms are offered to women over the age of 40, there are special circumstances in which women in their 20s and 30s are getting the examination done. I already had a few done, and I'm in my 30s. If you feel a lump in your breast, see a rash developing on one or both breasts, feel breast pain, or there is blood discharge from the nipple, reach out to your primary doctor immediately. Do not wait.

  • Pap smear

  • Performing a yearly pap smear can help your doctor detect signs of cervical and ovarian cancer. In addition, this examination can detect signs of the sexually transmitted disease called HPV (human papillomavirus), which can lead to cervical cancer.

  • Cholesterol

  • It is important to check your cholesterol levels. An excessive amount of cholesterol in your blood can develop plaque, which will constrict the fluidity in your blood flow. With high cholesterol, you are at risk of heart disease.

  • Blood pressure

  • High blood pressure is known as the silent killer. If you suffer from this condition and leave it untreated, you are putting your life at risk of heart disease or sudden cardiac arrest. Stress, consumption of excessive sodium, smoking and alcohol can lead to high blood pressure.

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  • Eye exam

  • Besides visiting your eye doctor for prescription glasses and/or contacts, you should consider seeing an eye specialist. During this time, the eye specialist will test the health of your eyes and detect if you are suffering from eye diseases such as glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

  • Once a year, do not forget to schedule an appointment with your primary physician for thorough testing — in spite of not feeling symptoms of any illness.

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Mayra Colón is a freelance writer, former independent author and avid reader. She holds a MBA from the University of Phoenix and completed the Freelance Writing and Selling Online course from Rutgers University of Arts and Sciences.

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