February 18, 2019 • Veronica Kimani
Your health is your wealth, and you need to know the 5 key tests that will help you stay on top of your health care this year.
1. Pap Smear
Why you need it: A Pap smear is a procedure testing for cervical cancer. The premise is detecting early cervical cancer and increasing the chances of cure.
When and how often: Recommended every 3 years after the age of 21.
What to expect: A sample of cells is taken from the cervix to look for changes that can lead to cancer. Pap smear tests may be a little uncomfortable and you may feel some discomfort. If you experience any pain, make sure to let your doctor know, sis!
2. STI Tests
Why you need it: It’s important to test for Sexually Transmitted Infections/ Diseases regardless of sexual orientation, whether you’re married, in a committed relationship or single.
If you’re a sexually active woman, do the best thing to care for your health, use protection and get tested. This is important because sexually transmitted diseases/infections may often be transmitted and exist without any visible symptoms. The next time you visit your gynaecologist or doctor, make sure to include an STI test in the various exams they may be performing.
The following are a list of STI’s you should be tested for:
When and how often: At least once a year.
What to expect: HIV Tests can be done orally at your own comfort or like Syphilis through a blood sample.
3. High Blood Pressure Test
Why you need it: If your blood pressure is high, there is extra strain on your heart and arteries increasing the chances of a heart attack or a stroke.
When and how often: More often than not following a doctor’s consultation, they will take a measurement of your blood pressure.
What to expect: The device used is made of a gauge and a rubber cuff and is placed around your arm (sphygmomanometer). It is a painless process that takes little time!
4. Breast Clinic Exam
Why you need it: A mammography, or mammogram, is an X-ray of the breast. It is a procedure used to detect breast cancer.
When and how often: It is important to take monthly breast self-examinations alongside mammogram procedures as this will increase the early detection, diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer.
What to expect: During a clinical breast exam, your healthcare provider checks your breasts’ appearance. You may be asked to raise your arms over your head, let them hang by your sides, or press your hands against your hips. These postures allow your healthcare provider to look for differences in size or shape between your breasts.
5. Cholesterol Test
Why you need it: A cholesterol test is a blood test that measures the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood.
When and how often: If you have records of high cholesterol, it is recommended to take a cholesterol test at least once a year- as part of your routine cholesterol reviews.
What to expect: Your health provider will need to get a sample of your blood. You may have your blood drawn in the morning, probably after fasting since the night before. A blood test is an outpatient procedure. It takes only a few minutes and is relatively painless.
Caring for you always,
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