8 Tests You Should Consider Having as a Woman in Her 50s

When you turn 50, the health concerns really start creeping in. Your sexual health may soon be affected by menopause, if it hasn’t already, but other conditions can also start to have an impact on your wellbeing. However, if you initiate good wellness principles and lifestyle choices there’s no reason why you can’t feel nifty at fifty, and be fully satisfied with the state of your health right up until you reach the big 6-0. One major way in which you can take care of your health during your 50s is to get screened for health concerns that commonly affect your age group. If you catch something sooner rather than later, you can get proactive with treatment and ensure you live to see the next 50 years. For women your age, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) provide the following recommendations:


1. Cervical cancer: A pap smear should be performed every one to three years. You should go for this screening every two years if your physician uses a liquid-based test, or every three if you have had three normal paps consecutively. You only need a test for human papillomavirus (HPV) if you have had an abnormal pap test.


2. Breast cancer: Mammograms are recommended every one to two years.


3. Colonoscopy for colon cancer screening: Regardless of your family or personal history of the disease, it is recommended that every woman in her 50s gets tested for colon cancer.


4. 25-OH Vitamin D (25 hydroxy-vitamin D): There’s no denying the importance of vitamin D; optimal levels can improve your bone density, enhance your cognitive health and reduce your risk of cancer. Therefore, if your vitamin D levels are low, that’s something you’ll want to know about! There are several tests that can determine whether or not you need to do something about your vitamin D levels, but the 25-OH vitamin D level is considered the most accurate. If you find your levels are low, you can get the vitamin D you need from sunlight on your skin, supplements or fortified foods.


5. Homocysteine: This is a product of protein metabolism and if your levels get too high, a whole host of wellness issues may be in store. Excess levels of homocysteine can lead to blood vessel damage, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and depression. If the test reveals your levels are higher than the optimal nine units, you can reset the balance with a higher intake of vitamins B-12, B-6 and folic acid.


6. Fasting Insulin Levels: Before your blood sugar rises to the classic diabetic markers, your insulin levels will rise. This demonstrates early signs of your body’s inability to handle the sugar it’s ingesting, so it’s a good thing to know about. The goal ranges may be from 0 -14, but you should try to keep your levels around 7 units or less. If your levels are too high, you have an indicator that you should be reducing the amount of refined sugar in your diet.


7. Thyroid tests: Your thyroid gland produces your thyroid hormone, which is responsible for your metabolism, energy production and mental sharpness. You may have a deficiency in this hormone if you experience fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, constipation, cold hands and feet, and sugar cravings. If this is the case, get tested through either a TSH and/or Free T-3).


8. C-Reactive Protein (CRP): Inflammation is a marker for heart disease, and this test measures your body’s level of inflammation. The result you’re after is anything less than 1mg/L. However, if you do find that your inflammation levels are elevated, you can fight back with fish oils, CoQ10, magnesium and vitamin D.

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