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    Lifesaving Tests for Women

    By Nancy Fitzgerald
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein, MD

    The right screening tests can make a huge difference to your health. Just ask Annette Prete, 66, of Lindenhurst, N.Y.  Every year, for as long as she can remember, she's made sure to get every exam her doctor recommended. When her mammogram results picked up some signs of breast cancer in 2012, she had surgery that caught all the disease.

    "If I hadn't gone for my mammogram regularly, things might have turned out much differently," Prete says. "Suppose I'd waited a few years? I might have had to deal with a lot of chemo or radiation -- and maybe I wouldn't even be here today. But because of that test, I'm here to enjoy my life and spend every minute I can with my grandchildren."

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    That's the power of prevention. Get screening tests on your radar to look for early signs of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other conditions.

    Be Heart Smart

    Get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked. Your doctor can tell you how often you should get this done.

    Cholesterol tests are simple. You get a blood test that reveals your levels of blood fats like LDL "bad" cholesterol, HDL "good cholesterol," and triglycerides. If the numbers aren't where they should be, changes in your diet or medicine can help bring them back in line.

    It's also a good idea to check for diabetes, which can be related to heart disease.

    "Many women on cholesterol-lowering medications may also be at increased risk for diabetes," says Holly Thacker, MD, director of the Center for Specialized Women's Health at the Cleveland Clinic. "Heart disease and diabetes are some of the biggest health plagues, so it may be a good idea to be screened yearly for A1c, which tests your blood sugar."

    Just like checking your cholesterol, your doctor does an A1c test by taking a small sample of your blood and sending it to get examined in a lab.

    Test Your Breasts

    Mammograms are an important way to check for breast cancer, and catch the disease when it's early and easier to treat. It uses X-rays to create pictures of the inside of your breasts.

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