So many things are changing during perimenopause and perimenopause that it can be difficult to know what is normal and what is not. Every day can be a new experience – not necessarily a bad one. That is why it is so important to keep a close eye on your health. With so many years likely to be ahead of you, it’s much better to stay well than to get well.
Here are six of the 12 Tests you should check regularly:
1. Blood-glucose or Hemoglobin A1C test to screen for diabetes, pre-diabetes or hypogly-cemia. Over 25 million Americans have it and of these, 7 million don’t realize that they do. The latest studies suggest that there are 79 million US citizens that are pre-diabetic. That means that their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to have diabetes. Hemoglobin A1C does not have to be drawn after fasting. It gives an estimate of your blood glucose over the past few months and is an excellent screening test.
2. Blood-pressure test to screen for high blood pressure.
3. Breast exam each month by you and each year by your doctor. Mammograms every year after age 40, or sooner if a strong family history of breast cancer.
4. Vitamin D blood test – Low vitamin D levels are extremely common and may increase the risk for breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). Anecdotally, I have had patients with Low vitamin D levels who have decreased hot flashes when their vitamin D levels are corrected.
5. Cholesterol profile to screen for a major risk factor for heart disease. High levels of cholesterol (above 200 mg/dL or 5.18 mmol/L), LDL or bad cholesterol (above 130) significantly increase the risk of heart disease.
6. Dental Care – It is important to have regular dental cleanings and exams, usually every 6 months. This will help prevent gum disease and will identify problems with your teeth and gums early. Flossing daily is also recommended and may lower the risk of heart disease.
These six tests are some of the things that you and your doctor should check regularly. For Part II of the Twelve Essential Tests for Menopausal Women tune in next Wednesday, June 5th.
Until next time,
Dr. Mache Seibel, Founder of My Menopause Magazine http://bit.ly/MyMenoMag
Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School
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