Health & Lifestyle: Why Routine Health Tests Are Important

Health & Lifestyle: Why Routine Health Tests Are Important

Amongst the many routine health tests that we, as women MUST take the effort to go for, a routine blood test might be something that we (or maybe just me?) often overlook.  It’s as simple as just going to your doctor’s to get a referral to get your blood drawn out and tested on for cholesterol level, red and white blood cell counts, sugar level, Vitamin D and iron levels.  Another important test that is done for women is the CA 125, a test that measures the amount of protein CA 125 in your blood and used to detect early signs of ovarian cancer.

My Health Scare

health scare

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I had yet ANOTHER health scare.  Remember how I thought I was going through perimenopause?  I kept on postponing the blood test due to just sheer laziness.  It was me not putting myself first – what else is new right?  So thanks to the fact that I needed to check the level of my red blood cells – to see if I was anemic – and to check my cholesterol levels, I thought, yes, I had better get this done stat!

Had the blood and urine sample taken and finally bothered to go to the doctor’s to find out the results.  Overall, I’m healthy, no issues with my kidney and liver either and I am not anemic!  Awesome news!  Or so I thought.  Until the doctor told me that my CA 125 count was on the high side.  Honestly I had no idea what he was talking about, until he mentioned – ovarian cancer.  To say I was stunned at the news was an understatement.  Mr. C was there in the room with me of course and he took the news rather lightly.  He’s a very practical person you see.  So I had to check if there was indeed anything wrong and had to book in for an ultrasound of the pelvis, to check if there were any ovarian lesions.

There were a few things that went through my mind, now, I have to tell you that I went to the doctor’s on a Saturday, so I had two days to stew with this news while I wait until Monday to book in for my ultrasound.  Let’s just say I was a mixed bag of looniness that weekend.  It didn’t help that I had to keep it from the kids too.  Stupid things went through my mind as I went through the possibilities – eg. Would I need a hysterectomy if it was a Stage 1?  What did that mean?  Does it mean I won’t get pregnant again?  Whoah!  That’s great news then, as I won’t need any contraceptives right?  Or what if I have to go through chemo?  What happens then?  And the best one yet?  But I just turned 40!!!! Yeah, you get the point.

Good thing the place that I checked to have my ultrasound had an opening on Monday afternoon.  Might as well get it over and done with.  They did an external pelvic ultrasound – easy enough.  And an internal probe – not so much fun.  Basically, good news all around as there wasn’t any abnormalities except for the fact that my left ovary wasn’t as mobile as the right, was much bigger in size AND felt tender.  So, now I’ve opted to go to a gynecologist, to find out the WHYS.  Why is one bigger than the other?  Is the size difference significant?  Why does my left abdomen hurt like I’m about to have my period AFTER my period?  You know?  “Regular” stuff?

Why Routine Health Tests Are Important

I’m just glad it was an all clear, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a routine check up.  All it takes is a few minutes of your time, a little prick and also a little pee.  It helps detect any abnormalities, like in my case the CA 125 levels, which are normally tested when you’re older.  I just turned 40, so I think that’s why it was tested. It helps to check the health of your liver and kidney and also if you’re low in iron.  Basic yet very important stuff that keeps you going daily.

Types of Routine Tests

Health Checks

There are quite a number of routine tests that are imperative for your general health and some you can even do at home – a self-check.  I’ve listed a few here with how often you’d need to have it checked.

  • Breast Self-Exam – once a month
  • Skin self-check (for any abnormal moles) – once a month
  • Dental check-up – once every 6 months.  Many people often disregard this but oral health is so important as it checks the health of your gums (ever heard of gum cancer??!!), gets rid of any build up that your regular brushing and flossing might not.
  • Full physical exam (blood pressure) – once every two years or more frequently if your have a family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack.
  • Pap Smear – yearly or every two years.  Your doctor would usually send you a reminder for your next check-up.
  • Eye exam  – yearly or every two years. Usually your optometrist will send you a reminder for your next check-up.
  • Blood test (to test cholesterol, triglycerides and blood count) – Once in your 20s, once in your 30s and once every 5 years when you’ve hit your 40s.  Some doctors, like mine, might order other blood tests like checking your Vitamin D levels, hormone levels and that dreaded CA 125 level.
  • Mammograms (once you’ve hit 40) – once a year
  • Colonoscopy (once you’ve hit 50, unless you have a family history of colon cancer then much earlier) – no idea how often to be honest, I guess your doctor will let you know, especially if you’ve got a family history of bowel/colon cancer.

That wraps up this week’s health and lifestyle post.  Yes it’s a rather long but necessary one!  Have you had your regular check-up done?  Do you see any other I might have missed out on this list?

 

 

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A mum of 3 who loves writing, sharing tips, tricks and discoveries that covers styling, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, health and so much more!

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Who is Norlin?

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She's a mum of 3 who loves writing, sharing tips, tricks and discoveries that covers styling, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, health and so much more!  Find out more about Norlin here!

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