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Testing, testing

Sure, you’re in the prime of your life. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from health screenings. Ask your healthcare provider about getting these tests:

1.Thyroid test (TSH)

A TSH test is a blood test that measures whether you have an underactive thyroid, also called hypothyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism can cause heart problems, depression and infertility, while hyperthyroidism can spur heart ailments, brittle bones and eye problems.

How often: Some experts recommend the TSH test starting at age 35 with follow-up every five years; others recommend it later in life, or during or following pregnancy. Ask your healthcare provider what schedule is best for you.

2. Cholesterol test

This blood test includes measurements of total cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol, good HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. High cholesterol raises your risk of heart disease.

How often: Once at age 20, then every five years

3. Skin check

Schedule a full-body check with a dermatologist to detect skin cancer. He or she will be looking for the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • asymmetry – moles that have halves that don’t match
  • borders – the mole’s edges are irregular
  • color – hues vary from one part of the mole to another
  • diameter – the growth is bigger than a pencil eraser
  • evolving – the growth is changing

How often: yearly

4. Pap test

Pap tests collect cervical cells and look for changes that can signal cancer or cells that may become cancer.

How often: Pap tests are recommended starting at age 21, according to new guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Follow-up is every one to three years.