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Recommended Health Screenings And Prevention Steps For Women Ages 40-64

Maintaining healthy eating habits and a regular exercise regimen is very important as your reproductive life shifts from a focus on the ability to become pregnant to menopause.

Other conditions — diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, breast cancer and heart disease — are concerns for women in your age group as weight gain becomes more difficult to control.

If you smoke, this is the time to quit. Smoking can lead to lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in women.

Ask your health care professional if you should be taking a multivitamin for extra folic acid and iron. Folic acid has been linked to lower birth defects, an increased risk for women who become pregnant in their 40s. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendeds that you take a supplement with 0.4 to 0.8 milligrams (400 to 800 micrograms) of folic acid daily if you are planning or capable of getting pregnant. You should see your doctor for prenatal care as soon as you know or think that you are pregnant, even if you are not a first time mom. Iron deficiency is especially common in premenopausal women because of the regular loss of iron with menstrual periods.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend aspirin for stroke prevention in women younger than 55 years or for preventing heart attacks (myocardial infarction).

The following screening and preventive steps should be followed in consultation with your doctor:


How Often

Blood Pressure

Every two years — 18 years of age and older

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Periodically — 18 years of age and older


Every 1 to 2 years — women 40 years of age and older


Every 3 years — Pap smear for women 21-65 years of age. Women 30-65 years of age may have a Pap smear AND human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years. Talk with your doctor to discuss the method of screening that is right for you.


Beginning at 50 years of age to 75 years of age — yearly screening with high-sensitivity stool test for blood, OR sigmoidoscopy every 5 years with high sensitivity stool test for blood every 3 years, OR colonoscopy every 10 years. Talk with your doctor about what type of screening is right for you and any benefits of screening over 75 years of age.

Hepatitis C (HCV)

Once — Adults born between 1945 and 1965. People at high risk for infection should also be screened.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Once — 15-65 years of age. Talk with your doctor about when screening should be repeated.


Routinely — 18 years of age and older

Alcohol Misuse

Routinely — 18 years of age and older

Tobacco Use

Routinely — 18 years of age and older

Intimate partner violence

Routinely — women of childbearing age

Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis (Td/Tdap)

Dose Td every 10 years; substitute a single dose of Td with Tdap vaccine — 19 years of age and older


Every flu season


1 Dose — 60 years of age and older

Perinatal Screening Tests**



Urine culture 12-16 weeks' gestation or first prenatal visit, whichever is first

Gestational diabetes mellitus

In asymptomatic pregnant women after 24 weeks of gestation

Hepatitis B virus (HBV)

First prenatal visit

Rh (D) antibody

First prenatal visit repeat at 24-28 weeks' gestation for all unsensitized Rh (D)-negative women, unless the biological father is known to be Rh (D)-negative


During pregnancy


During pregnancy

Iron deficiency anemia

During pregnancy


During and after pregnancy promote and support breastfeeding

Tobacco Use

During pregnancy provide augmented pregnancy-tailored counseling for those who smoke



Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap)

1 dose during each pregnancy

*The preventive health screenings are based on the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) as of 7/23/13.

The vaccine recommendations are based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of 2/18/13. Recommendations change often. A full list of the most current recommendations may be accessed at these websites.

**Based on the breast cancer screening recommendations of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at as of 4/2/12.

***This information is a summary of perinatal services recommendations from the USPSTF and the CDC for healthy pregnant women with normal risk. Talk with your doctor to find out what services are right for you and when you should have them. Your doctor may have additional recommendations. The material has been prepared for your general information only. Aetna does not warrant or guarantee, and shall not be liable for any deficiencies in, the information contained herein, or for the accuracy or appropriateness of any services provided by independent third parties. Aetna does not recommend the self management of health or related issues, nor does Aetna offer medical advice. You should consult your physician or appropriate professional for advice and care appropriate for your needs.

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High Cholesterol
Make healthy cholesterol levels a priority.
Reproductive And Sexual Health
Help for maintaining your reproductive and sexual health during this age.