Did you know that natural gas is odorless? A distinct scent is added to it so that if there’s a gas leak, you can tell by the smell of rotten eggs. Otherwise, an unchecked gas leak would be very dangerous. Unfortunately, no instantly identifiable sign can be added to abnormal precancerous cells or high blood pressure to let you know that your health is at risk.
Many cancers have no signs or symptoms in early stages, when they can be treated most effectively. Similarly, high blood pressure, which is often referred to as the “silent killer,” usually has no signs or symptoms. Yet hypertension can slowly damage your heart over the years, leading to a stroke or heart attack. About half people with untreated high blood pressure die of heart disease.
That’s why getting an annual Well Woman Exam, during which your doctor can measure your blood pressure and other vital signs, and getting Pap smear about every three years is vital to your overall health. It can save your life.
What is a Pap smear?
A Pap smear, also called a Pap test, involves checking your cervix — the lower part of your uterus — for abnormal cells that are cancerous or precancerous. Inserting a speculum into your vagina keeps it open enough for your doctor to see inside and to insert a swab to scrape a few cells from your cervix.
The cells then go to a laboratory for testing. If your results come back normal, you won’t need another Pap smear for about three years, depending on your doctor’s recommendation. If the test reveals abnormal cells, your doctor will recommend additional tests.
Cervical cancer was once a deadly disease for many American women. With the increase in regular Pap tests, the number of cervical cancer patients and deaths from cervical cancer has dropped significantly. Cervical cancer is one of the most treatable cancers if detected early.
Why you should schedule your annual physical, soon
At Georgia Center For Women in Atlanta, Morrow, and Emory Midtown, a Pap smear and other life-saving screenings are part of an annual women’s exam. While you may want to skip your yearly Well Woman Exam, especially if you feel pretty good, you shouldn’t.
At your Well Woman Exam, your doctor reviews your medical history and makes a note of any changes. This visit also keeps you up to date with important vaccinations and screenings that are integral to keeping your health in tip-top shape and helping prevent certain diseases.
Your annual exam can help you prevent infection, cancer, and chronic diseases. Your doctor can order the right tests and monitor your health to ensure that illness or disease is treated early and doesn’t progress to unhealthy stages.
An annual exam is also a great time to ask your doctor any questions you have about your physical and emotional health, fitness, and life changes, such as perimenopause and menopause.
Make your health a priority so you live the best life you can. To schedule your Pap test and annual physical exam, book an appointment online or over the phone with Georgia Center for Women today.