A Woman’s body undergoes many changes during the 40s. There are subtle changes which need to be addressed before they become a major problem. Here is a list of routine medical screening tests for women over the threshold of 40 years.
Pelvic Examination and Pap Smear: After reaching the age of 40, it is always advisable to go for a complete pelvic examination, Pap smear and Tests for HPV. Cervical cancer is a leading cause of death amongst most women in India. Recently, a cervical cancer vaccine has also been introduced.
Complete Breast Examination, Mammogram: Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths in India. As the risk of breast cancer increases with age, every ageing woman should get mammogram/ultrasonography done and follow it with recommended guidelines. The clinical examination of breasts by a qualified physician to detect early lump etc is mandatory to detect abnormalities. BRCA mutation testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility is advisable, especially if there is any family history of cancers.
Bone Mineral Density Test: It may not be fair, but it’s true. If you’re a woman, you’re automatically at greater risk for osteoporosis than men. This happens due to declining levels of hormone estrogen which plays a protective role on bones in women. Osteoporosis is a degenerative condition of the bones, where vital minerals like calcium trickle from the bones, making them weak and brittle. The International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that osteoporosis affects about 200 million women worldwide. Women start with lower bone density than their male peers and they lose bone mass more quickly as they age, which leads to osteoporosis in some women. Between the ages of 20 and 80, the average white woman loses one-third of her hip bone density, compared to a bone density loss of only one-fourth in men.
Vitamin D, Serum calcium, Parathyroid and other hormone tests should also be done for adequate understanding of bone metabolism and body functions.