Did you know the leading cause of death for women in the United States is heart disease, followed by cancer and respiratory disease?
This is why women’s health tests are crucial. Preventative care, regular health screenings, and women’s health lab tests are essential components in keeping your health on track.
Your first step is learning about the different types of women's health tests used to screen and diagnose health conditions that affect women.
Keep reading this guide to find out everything you need to know about women's health and women's health lab tests.
What is Women's Health
Most women lead busy lives with work and family obligations. And many women don't take the time to focus on their health.
Women also have unique health concerns such as menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause, and birth control. In addition, when men and women have the same conditions, they often have completely different symptoms.
Also, the same diseases often affect men and women differently, and women need unique treatments due to their biology.
Women need to adopt healthy lifestyle habits into their daily routines. Incorporating just a few steps towards health and wellness in your day can lead to better health and life in the future.
Make sure you exercise regularly. Remember, staying in shape isn't just about a healthy weight; but exercise also boosts your mood and helps you sleep better at night.
It's also important to work towards creating healthy eating habits. Diet trends come and go, so stick with what makes sense. Find a pattern of healthy eating that you can stick to. There are different diets to consider, but it's best to talk to your doctor and develop the best plan for your health goals.
You don't have to be a morning person, but it's important to get a good, solid night's sleep. Getting enough sleep not only puts you in a good mood in the morning but also lowers your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
It's also important that you learn to manage stress effectively. Stress is a part of life, but you need to figure out healthy ways to release built-up tension and combat frustrations in your way. Often, women try yoga, sports, meditation, or a new hobby.
Women also need to schedule regular preventative care checkups and health screenings and see a gynecologist for maintaining sexual health.
Risk Factors for a Decline in Women's Health
Some of the biggest risk factors to women's health are preventable. The biggest risk factors affecting women's health include:
- Smoking or using other tobacco products
- Eating a diet full of sugar, saturated fats, and sodium
- Being overweight or obese
- Not exercising
- Drinking more than one alcoholic drink a day
- Not managing stress
- Not seeing the doctor for regular screens and pap smears
Women also tend to be more vulnerable to lung damage than men from smoking or air pollution. Due to this, women have a higher risk of developing pulmonary disease, including bronchitis and emphysema.
You can best protect your lungs by not smoking avoiding secondhand smoke, chemicals, and other air pollutants as much as possible.
Some of the biggest causes of health decline for women in the US are heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease.
Signs and Symptoms of a Decline in Women's Health
As you get older, health issues tend to come up every so often. Maybe aches and pains, sore joints, or headaches. But while most symptoms do not necessarily point towards a decline in your health, you should pay attention to symptoms like:
- Frequently feeling shortness of breath with activity or at rest.
- Getting sick often
- Having a persistent fever
- Losing your sense of smell
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Feeling tired all the time
- Chest pain
- Having a period that is different than usual
- Wounds that take a long time to heal
- Breast lumps
- Excessive weight loss
It's important that you see your doctor for any ongoing symptoms that concern you.
Diagnosing Problems in Women's Health
Often, women's health problems are detected in your regular wellness exam. For women, regular wellness exams include:
- A pelvic exam to evaluate the shape and size of your reproductive organs
- A pap test to check for cervical cancer, HPV testing, and STI screening
- A breast exam to check for lumps
Your doctor should also order comprehensive panels that check your cholesterol, kidney, liver, blood, and hormone levels. Blood work is crucial for wellness and the best way to know where you stand with your overall health.
Lab Tests For Women's Health
One of the best comprehensive panels to start with is the wellness women's health panel. First, a complete blood count (CBC) measures your blood levels, immune system function, and platelet levels. The CBC is a great indicator of the overall health of your blood.
A magnesium level is important as the body needs it to keep your bones strong and your muscles and nerves functioning normally. Ferritin is a protein found inside your cells that stores iron for your body to use needed. Your ferritin level relates to how much iron is stored in your body. With your ferritin, you'll also need an iron and total iron-binding capacity level to check your iron levels. Low iron levels can be related to anemia or other inflammatory disorders.
A vitamin B12 and folate level check for any abnormalities. Your body needs folate and vitamin B12 to form red blood cells normally.
Your doctor will also check your hormone levels, like your estrogen level, responsible for regulating your menstrual periods. To assess your ovarian function during ovulation or determine if you're in menopause, you can order an estradiol level. An FSH and LH, along with a total testosterone level, will check your hormone levels and detect conditions like polycystic ovarian disease.
Other tests include a breast health foundation panel and a cancer screening test. This test checked your inflammation levels, blood levels, and the CA 15-3, a marker for breast cancer.
FAQS About Women's Health
What's the difference between obstetrics and gynecology? Gynecology focuses on women's health related to their reproductive organs. Obstetrics is focused on prenatal care, pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
When should women have their first gynecological exam? There isn't one single answer to this question. It depends on when you become sexually active, but you should have your first exam by 21.
What exactly is a mammogram, and at what age should I have one? A mammogram is a scan that can detect cancerous cells or tumors in your breast. A mammogram can identify cancerous cells in your breast two years before you can notice them during a self-breast examination.
Usually, women have their first mammogram at 40 years old, but you'll need to be screened sooner if you have a history of breast cancer in your family.
If I have vaginal discharge, does it mean something is wrong? Some vaginal discharge is normal and can change during your monthly cycle. You should see your doctor if you see an increase in vaginal discharge along with:
- Foul odor
- White coloration
- Thick discharge
How will I know when menopause begins? Your doctor will usually confirm menopause once you haven't had your period for 12 months in a row. On average, women start menopause around the age of 51. But perimenopause starts in your 40s and is the period that leads up to actual menopause. You might experience symptoms like irregular periods, mood swings, and some hot flashes with perimenopause.
How do I choose the right method of birth control for me? There are many different options for birth control, from birth control pills intrauterine devices to a Depo-Provera shot. A Depo-Provera shot is a birth control injection that works for up to 12 weeks at a time. Talk to your doctor about the best method for you and your overall health.
Women’s Health Lab Tests With Ulta Lab Tests
Ulta Lab Tests offers highly accurate tests, allowing you to make informed decisions about your health. Here are a few amazing things to love about Ulta Lab Tests:
- You'll always have secure and confidential results
- No need for health insurance
- No need for a physician's referral
- You'll always get affordable pricing
- We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee
Order your women's health lab tests today, and you'll have your secure and confidential results online in 24 to 48 hours in most cases.
Take charge of your health and shop with Ulta Lab Tests today!