There are plenty of screenings out there, so which ones should you have? Here, we have answers.
As part one of our two-part series, we are addressing three important screenings for you to get when you visit your gynecologist in Little Rock. Your doctor will offer you health screenings for women, so any potential health problems can be identified early.
Health screenings make managing your health easier, simpler, and safer.The screenings discussed below are provided as a basic framework for care, or a general guide for you to use in planning your health care. Your doctor will evaluate your personal health factors and counsel you in order to adapt these lists to your personal needs.
1. Pap smear
A Pap smear, also known as a Pap test, is cancer screening for women. The procedure involves collecting some cells from your cervix. Early detection of cervical cancer by having a Pap test increases a woman’s chances of being cured of cancer.
Starting at age 21, have a Pap smear every 3 years. It is important to note that a Pap smear is different from your annual preventive screening visit—we still recommend having an exam each year so that your doctor can address any questions or issues and perform the many other screenings that we recommend.
A mammogram is a breast cancer screening test. If you have additional breast cancer risk factors, your doctor may advise you to also have and MRI scan, or breast ultrasound. Your gynecologist may also do clinical breast examinations if you are between ages 20-40. Women can also do a monthly self-examination of the breasts. Talk to your doctor about what you should do. And, whether or not you perform self-exams, promptly contact your doctor if you discover any changes in your breasts.
It is recommended that women age 40 and over have routine mammograms. If you, your mother, or your sister had breast cancer at an earlier age, you should begin having mammograms prior to the youngest age that a member of your family was diagnosed.
3. Blood Glucose Testing
Type 1 diabetes symptoms frequently appear without prior warning. This is one important reason to have your blood sugar levels checked routinely. Other types of diabetes and prediabetes may not be apparent and may appear more gradually.
The American Diabetes Association recommends screening for diabetes for anyone whose body mass index is above 25 if there are additional risk factors such as sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, history of heart disease, or having a close family member with diabetes. All women over age 45 are advised to have a blood sugar screening. If results are normal, then screening should be done every 3 years from that point forward.
For More Information
Contact the Woman’s Clinic by calling 501-664-4131 for additional information about health screenings for women in Arkansas, or to schedule an appointment for a consultation with a Little Rock gynecologist. For more than 70 years, the Woman’s Clinic has been providing state-of-the-art women’s health care in a comfortable private setting.