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Why it's important for every woman to have a regular medical check-up

By Faeza
24 February 2017

Our bodies don’t always tell us when we are sick. Which is why it’s important

to go for an annual health check even when you feel healthy. Here are some

tests you should do to stay healthy.

? CERVICAL CANCER

Cervical cancer is the second most common

form of cancer among South African women after

breast cancer.

Pap smear: You’ll be checked for any abnormalities

in the uterus, including

the presence of cells that

cause cervical cancer. It’s

recommended for women aged

21 and older, even if they are

not sexually active.

? BREAST CANCER

According to the Cancer

Association of South Africa,

the number of South African

woman who get breast cancer

is increasing, with women

having a one in 29 lifetime risk

of being diagnosed.

A Mammogram: This is an

X-ray picture of your breasts,

including side views and is

used to detect if there are

lumps that could be cancerous.

The Breast Health Foundation

of South Africa advises women

aged between 35 and 40 to

have a regular mammogram

and those aged between 40

and 50 to have a mammogram

every year or two years.

Women in their early 20s and

those aged over 50 must still

have their breasts examined as

the cancer doesn’t discriminate

based on age.

?DIABETES

It’s estimated that three

and a half million South

Africans have diabetes,

and that many more are

undiagnosed. Type 1 diabetes

and type 2 diabetes are chronic,

while prediabetes – when your

blood sugar levels are higher

than normal, but not high enough

to be classified as diabetes and

gestational diabetes, which

occurs during pregnancy, can be

reserved. If you have a family

history, or you are obese and

your lifestyle puts you at risk of

developing diabetes, you should

test for diabetes. There are three kinds of tests –

glycated hemoglobin text, glucose test and blood

sugar test – which you can take.

? CHOLESTEROL

More and more South Africans are getting

diagnosed with diseases such as cholesterol and

diabetes, which have also started affecting young

people. To keep your cholesterol fully in check,

you need to do a lipogram, which is a blood test

that analyses your cholesterol

levels, including the amount

of good and bad cholesterol,

as well as triglycerides (type

of fat in the blood). High

cholesterol is linked to heart

disease. Testing depends

on factors like age (from 20

but frequently older than

50), weight, family history

and lifestyle, as alcohol and

smoking increase the risk of high cholesterol.

?BLOOD PRESSURE

It’s estimated that about one in three South

African adults who are aged 15 and older suffer

from high blood pressure, increasing the likelihood

of getting a heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.

You should check your blood pressure every time

you go to your general practitioner. Alternatively,

you can go to a clinic.