Marla Ahlgrimm: Health Screenings for Women

Marla AhlgrimmWomen take note: your doctor isn’t someone you should only visit when you’re ill. Marla Ahlgrimm says it’s important to maintain a relationship with your healthcare provider and have regular well check visits to detect or prevent health problems.

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that annual well visits screen for health complications, ensure vaccinations are up to date, assess risk of future medical issues, and establish a relationship with your care provider. The latter is important so that he or she is familiar with your baseline of health in case of an accident or illness.

A few of the more common health screenings are:

Blood pressure

You should have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. Your blood pressure is written as two numbers – the systolic number on the top and diastolic on the bottom. Ideal blood pressure is approximately 120/80. Consistent numbers much higher or lower than that may be cause for concern, says Marla Ahlgrimm.

Cholesterol

Women over 20 with pre-existing conditions that put them at a greater risk of coronary heart disease should request a cholesterol screening every five years.

Diabetes

Diabetic testing should take place for women over age 44 every three years, explains Marla Ahlgrimm. Women with a BMI over 25 are at a higher risk of diabetes; a BMI of greater than 23 may be cause for concern for those of Asian descent. Diabetics are at a greater risk of circulatory issues of the lower extremities, heart attacks, and a host of other health problems.

Colon cancer

Marla Ahlgrimm explains that menopause-age women may begin colon cancer screenings annually. Women under the age of 50 should test sooner if they have a history of polyps or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Colon cancer screening is a simple fecal test that may be combined with sigmoidoscopy every five years and colonoscopy every decade.

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