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In addition to health issues that affect men and women equally, there are some conditions unique to women or that affect women disproportionately. Use the resources in this article to learn about these conditions, the ways that lab tests can help identify and/or monitor these conditions and what you can do to stay healthy and extend your healthy years.

Learn about general health screenings for women

Preventive medicine is one area of healthcare in which all women can exercise more responsibility and control over their health. Getting regular screening tests for common health problems is a simple and effective first step.

Screening tests can give you and your healthcare provider the information needed to identify health risks and take preventive measures before they become more serious problems. Getting routine tests performed even though you have no symptoms can help detect problems early and help you benefit from easier and more effective treatment. It can sometimes even prevent disease.

Two panels of tests are frequently used as general health screenings. These tests can screen for a number of health issues at the same time. Your health care practitioner may order these when you have a general health examination:

Blood Test Panels Examples of Conditions Screened
Complete blood count (CBC) Anemia, infection, iron deficiency, bleeding disorders
Complete metabolic panel (CMP) Liver disease, kidney disease, electrolyte and acid/base balance

It’s easy to take these tests for granted, but their power to keep you healthier longer should not be underestimated. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about getting the recommended health screenings. Learn about other screening tests that can help keep you healthy:

Condition screened Tests
Diabetes Glucose, A1c
Heart disease, high cholesterol Lipid panel
High blood pressure Blood pressure reading
Obesity Body Mass Index (BMI)
Osteoporosis Dexa scan
Sexually transmitted diseases Chlamydia, Gonorrhea
HIV HIV test
Breast cancer Mammogram
Cervical cancer HPV test, Pap smear
Colon cancer Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and fecal immunochemical test (FIT), colonoscopy

 

Do you take biotin for healthier hair, skin and nails?

You should know that if you take biotin pills or supplements, it can interfere with some laboratory tests. If you are scheduled to have some lab work done and take biotin, read the articles New Guideline Addresses Biotin Interference in Some Lab Tests and Biotin Affects Some Blood Tests Results to learn more.

Learn about some conditions that can affect women's health

Understand conditions that can affect women’s health and learn about some related tests that may be done to help screen for, diagnose and/or monitor the course and treatment of these conditions:

Conditions/diseases Examples of related tests
Autoimmune diseases
(e.g., lupus, antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), scleroderma)
Antinuclear antibody (ANA)anti-dsDNALupus anticoagulant, Scl-70 antibody, Centromere antibody
Breast cancer BRCA mutationHER2Estrogen/Progesterone ReceptorBreast Cancer gene expression tests
Cervical cancer HPV testPap smear
Chronic fatigue syndrome Iron tests, Thyroid panel (TSH, Free T4), ANA
Fibromyalgia Thyroid panel, ANA, CK (creatine kinase)
Infertility Luteinizing hormone (LH)Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)ProlactinProgesteroneEstrogenAnti-Müllerian hormone (AMH)
Menopause

FSH, Estradiol, Thyroid panel, AMH

Ovarian cancer CA-125 (Cancer antigen 125)HE4 (Human epididymis protein 4)BRCA mutation, Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)Lactate dehydrogenase (LD)
Pelvic inflammatory disease Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Urinalysis, Urine culture
Polycystic ovary syndrome LH, FSH, Testosterone, Estrogens, Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), Androstenedione, AMH
Thyroid diseases
(e.g. Graves disease, Hashimoto thryoiditis)
Thyroid panel (TSH, Free T4, Total and Free T3), Thyroid antibodies
Vaginosis and vaginitis Gram stain, Herpes, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HPV, Syphilis, HIV testing