Both men and women should have regular health checks. See your doctor for regular medical check-ups to help you stay healthy and to pick up early warning signs of disease or illness.
Cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes and some cancers can often be picked up in their early stages when treatment may be more successful. If you have high-risk factors, such as a family history of a disease, it may be more likely that you will develop a particular disease.
Check-ups may help your doctor pick up early warning signs. For example, high blood pressure may be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease.If you are at high risk of a particular disease – such as a family history, it is recommended that you get checked more frequently, and/or at an earlier age.
Both men and women should make self-checking part of their routine.
Things that can be checked at home include:
- Skin checks – monitor your skin particularly for changes in size, shape or colour or anything unusual such as pain or itch. See your doctor if you notice anything unusual. Women at high risk need regular examination by their doctor or dermatologist.
- Breast checks – monitor changes in breast shape and formation of lumps. While these can be benign, they can also be early indicators of more serious conditions
- Weight management – maintaining a healthy weight can prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and arthritis
- Mental and emotional health – if you are experiencing symptoms such as intense sadness, irritability, fatigue, anxiety, have had changes to your eating or sleeping habits, see your doctor to discuss these symptoms. Intimate partner violence is one of the biggest impacts on women’s health. If you don’t have someone to talk to you can call 1800 RESPECT (1800 7377328) for advice and support.Health checks from your doctor can include:· Regular blood tests to check cholesterol, sugar levels and to detect vitamin deficiencies or other irregularities which could be indicative of disease.
Tests and Screening
Women should have a pap test every two years. This screening test is an important test to pick up signs of irregularities that could lead to cervical cancer if not treated. The first pap test should be within two years of the first time you have sex over the age of 20. You should continue to have them every two years until you are 70. Even if you have been vaccinated, you should continue to have regular pap tests.
If you are under 30 years of age and sexually active, have a urine test for chlamydia each year, as chlamydia can affect your fertility and often has no symptoms. If you have sex with one or more new partners without a condom, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor about checking for other sexually transmissible diseases.
You should have a general check-up before planning a pregnancy to discuss any health risks during pregnancy. Once you are pregnant, regular antenatal checks help monitor your baby’s development, pick up abnormalities and assess your health.
Tests include ultrasound scans, urine tests and blood tests.