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recommended every three years for
women between ages 21 to 65 years
old. “However for women between ages
30 to 65 years who have a normal Pap
test with a negative HPV test, screening
can be done every five years,” she says.
Diabetes and the Heart
According to the American Diabetes
Association, all patients should
be screened for diabetes at three-
year intervals beginning at age 45,
especially people who are overweight
or obese. Also once a woman ceases
her menstruation cycle, Dr. Menon
explains that she is at an increased
cardiac risk and that is where the
testing for diabetes and cardiac disease
comes in.
Blood Pressure
It’s simple, it’s cheap and it’s quick,
explains Dr. Ahmed. “Women don’t
always have to go to the doctor’s office
to have blood pressure checked; it can
be monitored at home,” she says and
this is especially important if one has a
strong family history of blood pressure.
Cholesterol Screening
Everyone age 20 and over should know
their cholesterol numbers, and get
them checked at least once every five
years, urges Dr. Ahmed.
Tests For Pregnant Women
In the case of a pregnant woman,
Dr. Menon recommends that the
most important test is a regular
antenatal check. “It is also advisable
to do a maternal serum screening
correlate it with cardiac risks,” he
explains, therefore even if a person
has a normal lipid profile, he strongly
suggests an individual undergo a
lipid profiling so that the LDL sub-
fractions are delineated. “Then we are
able to design intervention strategies
to change the LDL sub-profiles to
normal,” he says.
The Kidneys
And besides diabetes, chronic kidney
disease is yet another disease that can
be tested for in advance. “In chronic
kidney disease, the kidney starts
showing signs of kidney failure much
before it manifests,” he says. “The test--
micro albumin—is usually done along
with urinary creatinine which detects
early kidney disease and can be used to
treat it early before the disease becomes
Frank Nephrotic Syndrome.”
Women’s Top Tests
(Under age 50)
In the case of women, Dr. Menon
suggests that the first and most
important test they should undergo on
a periodic basis is a mammogram.
Pelvic Exam and Pap Screen
Next, Dr. Menon urges that women
should undergo a cervical cytology
with HPV (Human Papillomavirus
testing) as breast cancer and cervical
cancer are the causes of death in
women. Dr. Ahmed adds that Pap
screen testing should begin at
age 21 while routine screening is
steps and make informed choices.
Managing risks, she continues, means
increased surveillance via a monthly
breast self-exam beginning between the
ages of 18 and 21 and annual or semi-
annual clinical breast exams, beginning
between the ages of 25 and 35. “Also
yearly mammography and breast MRI
beginning between the ages of 25 and
35 as well as an annual or semi-annual
trans-vaginal ultrasound to screen for
ovarian cancer beginning between the
ages of 25 and 35,” she notes.
The Heart
Dr. Menon firmly stresses that
preventive screening tests play an
important role in helping a person
make adequate lifestyle changes. He
cites the following example, “More
and more younger people are suffering
from Coronary Artery disease (CAD)
which occurs when lipids begin to
get deposited on the vessel valve of
the heart. For this problem, a simple
lipid profile is the first step of a test
which can be used to prevent coronary
artery disease.” However, nowadays
newer tests are available, for example,
he says that in the lipid profile, the
LDL is supposed to be the dangerous
fraction which is responsible for
Atherosclerosis, however, what is not
well publicized is the fact that LDL
has two sub-fractions – the heavier
fraction and the lighter fraction. “It
is the smaller fraction of LDL that is
responsible for coronary artery disease
and it is important to sub-classify the
LDL fractions so that one can actually
Apr/May 2014