- Physical exam. You need to have regular physical exams in your 40s. Whether this is every year, or every other year or every third year is up to you and your primary care practitioner. If you have, or are at high risk for, any health conditions, you should have an annual physical exam. While some of the elements of a standard physical exam may not be necessary year in and year out, these visits provide an opportunity for you to discuss things with your physician. In addition to checking your height, weight, and cholesterol (at least the first time), your doctor will check to see if there is any history of illness in your family, and then do a screening to help detect early signs of that illness. If you are overweight and obesity runs in your family, it's important to work with your health care provider to create a positive lifestyle change program that can help you nip this in the bud, getting your weight into a healthy range. This will provide you with the best opportunity for a healthy future.
- Blood pressure screening. A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80. If you have no history of high blood pressure, your blood pressure should be checked every two years. If your blood pressure runs anywhere above 120 to 130 over 80 to 89 Hg, this is considered pre-hypertension. If you have pre-hypertension, or if you have diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease, have your blood pressure checked every year. If you get your blood pressure checked at a local screening event or on an automated machine at a grocery store or pharmacy, call your doctor if the top number is over 130 or the bottom number is over 85.
- Cholesterol screening. If you are over 44, your cholesterol should be checked at least once every five years -- more frequently if you use tobacco, are obese, have high blood pressure or diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, or if a family member has had heart disease, blocked arteries, or had an early heart attack. An early heart attack happens before age 50 for men, before age 60 for women. Ask your doctor how frequently your cholesterol should be checked if you have any of these risk factors. If you are under 44, ask your doctor when your cholesterol should be checked.
A Answers (1)
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredRecommended health screenings for women in their 40s include: