We wonder why we take the most significant of things for granted, and women’s health has been at the center of focus in this matter. With career transformations and attitudinal revolutions, women have progressed enough to take on many roles but have regressed in terms of health. We spoke to doctors to find out which tests are taken most for granted, despite being life-saving.
Depression is twice as common in women as in men, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). “The priority of a woman is her family, and now work, while health figures last. If there is a family history of heart disease, diabetes or cancer, health checkups should start as early as your teens. For other women, it’s 20 years,” says Dr Mukta Kapila, Director, Obstetrics and Gynecology at Fortis Gurugram.
Complete Blood Count (CBC) with ESR
“Anaemia is one of the most common health problems in women. This test is often looked over but is an excellent blood count test for the major components of our blood — red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets), in addition to two important values (haemoglobin and haematocrit values). The test also rules out latent blood disorders,” says Dr Ravi Gaur, COO, Oncquest Laboratories Ltd.
Hepatitis C test
The first stage of testing for Hepatitis C is an antibody test which can be concluded within two-three months of acquiring the virus. The screening is important because it can lead to cancer. Since this is contagious, the infection can be transmitted to another person through exposure of wounds, among other things.
Dr Inder Kasturia, Consultant Physician and Wellness Expert, Internal Medicine at Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital, urges all women above at 45 to get this test done. “This is a sneaky cancer that grows over the years. At first, there is a benign polyp that goes undiagnosed because of lack of screening, and before you know it, it turns cancerous.” Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH),
T3 and T4 test
“The various symptoms of thyroid dysfunction include fatigue, fast heartbeat, increased appetite, greater sensitivity to cold, muscle weakness, brittle hair and nails, weight gain or loss etc. Both overactive and underactive thyroid activity can be easily treated and kept under control for good health by regular testing of these hormones,” says Dr Gaur.
Liquid based Cytology (PAP SMEAR) and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
It is an important test for early-stage detection and prevention of cervical cancer. “Sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection is the most important proven risk factor for cervical cancer. HPV test is also recommended for women age 30 and over,” says Dr Gaur.