Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Select An Article

Medical Tests for Women in Their 40s

Font Size
A
A
A

How healthy are you? Your 40s are a great time to assess your current health state, correct past indiscretions and prepare your body for many more decades of your life. Your doctor can help by checking you for problems that can rob you of your health. Here's a list of the basic tests women should ask for. (Note that your doctor may recommend additional tests based on your personal health profile.)

  • Blood sugar. Decades of eating the wrong food (think soda, hot dogs, fries -- you get the picture) plus weight gain (often due to hormone changes) may have overworked your pancreas. It can't keep up and that can lead to diabetes. By the age of 45, everyone should get a fasting blood sugar test and then have another at least once every three years. Your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent checking depending on your risk.
  • Breast exam and mammogram. You may be checking your breasts at home regularly and having your doctor do an exam annually, but most experts recommend adding a mammogram to the mix somewhere after age 40.  The American Cancer Society puts the age at 45. Not all breast cancer experts agree. When to start? Work with your doctor to decide.
  • Blood pressure. Don't be surprised if your blood pressure starts rising now -- that's common. Fortunately, you can lower your blood pressure through diet, exercise, and medication. It's worth the effort. Lower blood pressure is a key factor in longevity.
  • Cholesterol profile. Take heart: this simple blood test can save your life. More than 31 million adults in America have high cholesterol levels, a condition that can lead to heart attacks or strokes -- diseases that claim a life every 40 seconds! If you have high cholesterol, protect yourself by changing your diet and taking medications such as statins.
  • Stepping on the scales. You blissfully enjoyed chips and hamburgers while ignoring your expanding waistline, but the scale doesn't lie. Pay attention to the results: being overweight puts you at high risk for developing a number of diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
  • Pelvic exam and pap. Yes, you still need these -- especially if you're sexually active. A few minutes of mild discomfort pay big dividends in protecting you from cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. Your doctor can tell you how often you need a Pap test.
  • Looking for moles. Those years of getting "a healthy tan" can lead to something not so healthy -- skin cancer. Luckily, most skin cancers are curable. So don't forget to ask your doctor to check your skin if you find any moles or skin changes.
  • Protecting your eyes. Having trouble reading or working at the computer? It's not unusual. Be sure to get your eyes examined regularly -- every 2 to 4 years until age 60 -- to check for common problems like presbyopia, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Go more often if you have vision problems or risk factors for eye problems.
  • Checking your immunizations. Ask your doctor if you need a tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) booster shot, or pneumonia vaccine. Almost all adults should also get the flu shot each fall.

This year, give yourself the gift that keeps on giving. Schedule a visit to your dentist, and call your doctor to see if there are important tests you should take. By investing an hour or so with the doctor now, you may be able to add years to your life.

Did You Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will provide free women’s preventive services, including mammograms, birth control and well-woman visits. Learn more.

Health Insurance Center

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD on January 26, 2016
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
 
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
insomnia
Is it menopause or something else?
 
woman in bathtub
Slideshow
period
VIDEO
 
bp app on smartwatch and phone
Slideshow
estrogen gene
Quiz
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
Slideshow
hot water bottle on stomach
Quiz
 
question
Assessment
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror
Quiz