May 13, 2010

Important Health Tests for Pregnant Women and Moms – Part II

Pap Smear Test

This is a swab testing for detecting pre-malignant and malignant cervical alterations, HPV (human papillomavirus) – a prevalent sexually communicated viral form. Particular HPV strains when not checked could eventually cause cervical cancer over periods of time.

Why it is necessary: Often either one of the couple could have contracted the virus before and would not become apparent during a Pap smear for several years. In case Pap smear test outcome is irregular then an HPV test would be advised or biopsy on the dubious cervical regions for checking pre-malignant cells would be done. In case a woman gets a normal outcome of Pap smear 3 years in succession and has been faithful to one partner then the test is solely needed once in 3-yearly intervals. Women with an irregular Pap smear test outcome lately or had a recent affirmative HPV test outcome would require to undergo testing once in 3-6 monthly intervals.

Skin Test

The physician or skin doctor would visually examine the skin for any indications of cancer.

Why it is necessary: Malignant melanoma is the most prevalent form of skin cancer afflicting women below thirty years of age. Females could additionally undergo excess skin pigmentation alterations gestational period and post-delivery, many of them being completely non-detrimental, though it is important to show them to a doctor who might do a biopsy of any dubious mole or skin patch to be microscopically analyzed. A yearly skin exam is advisable.

Fasting Blood Glucose Test

This test is done for checking diabetes presence by measuring blood sugar post an 8-hour fasting. Females with a family case history of diabetes, hypertension or with obesity, overweight issues (inclusive of pregnant women who have had a weight increase at the time or post-pregnancy) must ideally undergo this test. Those pregnant women with identified gestational diabetes have a nearly fifty percent likelihood of getting Type 2 diabetes in future. Pregnant women with identified diabetes would be advised regulating blood glucose levels via a merger of diet, exercising and in case needed insulin shots.

Women forty years and above must undergo testing yearly or once every two years. However, in case any risk factors are present then majority of the physicians suggest getting screened from thirty years of age onwards. In case diabetes is present then the physician would advice A1C blood analysis test that computes proportion of glucose affixed to RBC s in the blood. In case A1C level is over seven percent then chances of diabetes-associated complications are significantly higher.

Bone Mineral Density Test

Test for checking osteoporosis is done for a condition afflicting nearly eight million females in the U.S. annually and arises due to bone thinning and weakening. Bone mineral density checking is done employing a device known as DEXA (dual energy photon absorptiometer) advisable for menopausal women.

However, a baseline bone scan at thirty-five years of age is recommended in case of presence of family case history of osteoporosis or those on a course of medications for treating eczema, thyroid condition or steroids since these hasten bone loss rate. This issue gets aggravated during breastfeeding in case nursing mothers fail to acquire adequate amounts of calcium in this time, the body would instantaneously obtain calcium from the bones for giving the baby. In case bone scans are revealing osteopenia (bone thinning) then certain pre-emptive measures from calcium supplementation, weight bearing exercising and Fosamax (drug for thwarting any additional bone loss) could be advised.

In case a woman does not have preliminary indications of osteoporosis then she would not require screening till she turns menopausal.

Read more at: Important Health Tests for Pregnant Women and Moms – Part I

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