Your thirties are all about maintenance. Even though the USPSTF doesn’t recommend any new screening tests during your 30s, it is important that you continue to eat right, exercise daily and undergo screening tests as often as needed. If you notice any changes in your health, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. If you’re trying to get pregnant or you become pregnant, schedule an appointment with your ob-gyn to make sure you and your baby are off to a healthy start. For example, adequate folic acid intake in early pregnancy can avoid neural tube defects. Some screening tests can only be performed before 20 weeks gestation.
Remember that you know your body best, so if you notice any changes in your health, discuss them with your doctor. By being vigilant about your health (even when you feel great), you’ll be able to discover any potential problems early, and act fast to treat them.
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Why you need it: A routine eye exam can help detect any changes in vision, identify the early stages of glaucoma or macular degeneration, and can spot any eye damage due to high blood pressure or diabetes. Detecting these problems at an early stage allows for treatment to begin when it can have its greatest impact on preserving vision.
What the test is like: A comprehensive eye exam is a relatively simple and comfortable procedure that lasts about 45 to 90 minutes. During the exam, your doctor will perform a series of tests to check your vision acuity, side vision, eye pressure, retina and optic nerve and other things necessary for healthy vision.
When to start: The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends getting a baseline eye exam starting at age 40. Several common eye diseases can impact people ages 40 or older without them noticing any symptoms. Your doctor can help you determine how regularly you should get an eye exam.
Why you need it: About 227,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, according the National Institutes of Health (NIH). And with breast cancer, early detection is especially key — when the cancer is found in stage one, there is a 88 percent survival rate. A mammogram can help detect breast cancer in its earliest stages.
What the test is like: A mammogram is an X-ray taken with a machine that compresses your breasts in different positions. While temporarily uncomfortable, a mammogram can detect lumps, cysts and tumors that you might not otherwise feel or see.
When to start: Talk to your doctor to determine when and how often you should be screened for breast cancer. It varies depending on your risk factors. The American Cancer Society recommends that women 40 and older have annual mammograms; the USPSTF recommends women start getting mammograms at age 50 and then every two years after that. Women with a family history of breast cancer may need to get their first mammogram at an earlier age and continue to be screened more frequently.
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