By Donna Fennessy
Make a mental checklist of all the things you do to keep yourself healthy. It's a good bet you thought of your workouts, your good-for-you diet, and maybe even a daily vitamin. But if keeping up with medical tests isn't on your list of healthy behaviors, you're falling into the mistake that many fit women make: thinking regular exercise plus smart nutrition exempts you from getting routine exams. To truly keep your body healthy, here are the tests you need to get for your 20s, 30s, and beyond.
Related: 10 Reasons You're Healthier Than You Think
In Your 20s...
TEST: Eye Exam
WHO TO SEE: Ophthalmologist
WHY: Many eye problems, such as glaucoma and retinopathy, are detected only via exam. Plus, checkups can help pinpoint related health concerns, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
HOW OFTEN: At least once between the ages of 20 and 29 and twice between ages 30 and 39. Wear glasses or contacts? Take meds that affect your vision? Got diabetes? Go annually.
TEST: STD Screening
WHO TO SEE: Your gyno or GP
WHY: Chlamydia and gonorrhea, which can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, are on the rise, as is syphilis.
HOW OFTEN: Annually if you're 24 or younger, or if you've had sex with multiple or new partners in the past year, regardless of age. Pregnant? Get screened ASAP.
In Your 30s...
TEST: Thyroid Check
WHO TO SEE: Your GP
WHY: Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, affects women as much as seven times more than men. Undetected, it can lead to weight gain, joint pain, infertility and even heart disease.
HOW OFTEN: Once every five years starting at age 35.
FAST FACT: Up to 12 million people in the U.S. who have thyroid disease go undiagnosed, notes the American Thyroid Association.
Related: The A to Z Guide of Good Health
TEST: HPV Test
WHO TO SEE: Gyno
WHY: Two types of HPV cause about 70 percent of all cervical cancers. After age 30, women are less likely to clear the cancer-causing infections.
HOW OFTEN: Request an HPV test with your Pap. If both results are normal, you may not need to be screened for another three years. But no matter how old you are, if your Pap comes back abnormal, ask your doc about getting tested.
WHO TO SEE: Radiologist
WHY: This X-ray helps detect changes in breast tissue that can signal breast cancer.
HOW OFTEN: Annually. While a government task force recently changed their recommendation to yearly screenings starting at age 50, the American Cancer Society still urges women to get started at 40.
FAST FACT: Get a mammogram when your breasts are less tender, usually during the week right after your period.
TEST: Blood Sugar Check
WHO TO SEE: Your GP
WHY: Fasting glucose levels shouldn't exceed 100 to 125 mg/dL. Higher? Could be diabetes.
HOW OFTEN: Once every three years starting at age 45.
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