Even in the midst of a pandemic, it is very important that women keep up with all the necessary health checks.

Andria Aird, pharmacist and partner at Blooms The Chemist Joondalup, shares her advice on what essential health tests women should be having during lockdown.

Pap smears: Recently, the Cervical Cancer Screening test has replaced the Pap smear. These check-ups are necessary if you have ever been sexually active or are over 25.

You need to have your first Cervical Cancer Screening Test two years after your last Pap smear, and then every five years until you are 74.

Blood glucose screening: Depending on your risk of developing diabetes, you should get your blood glucose levels tested every one to three years.

A simple, 3 minute ‘finger-print’ test will indicate if you have high levels of blood glucose. If this is the case, you will need to seek further medical support from your GP.

Cardiovascular health checks: Similar to the glucose screening test, cardiovascular health can also be checked by a simple ‘finger-prick’ test at your local pharmacy. These tests are essential for monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol. They provide information on the health of your heart and blood vessels.

Blood pressure should be checked at least every two years after you reach 18 years of age. If you are age 45 or over, or have high blood pressure, you should get your cholesterol checked every five years.  If you have a high risk of heart disease you will need to have your cholesterol checked every year or two.

Immunisations: If you are 65 years of age or older it is strongly recommended that you receive your annual flu vaccine. It is also important that anyone who is pregnant (especially in their last trimester), has a chronic health condition, severe asthma, or diabetes gets their annual flu shot.

It is also a good idea to keep up to date with all other important immunisations, such as tetanus shots.

Pregnancy check-ups: If you have recently become pregnant, it is essential that you receive regular check-ups to monitor your own health and the development of your baby.  It is also recommended that before you become pregnant, both you and your partner have check-ups to give you the best chance of a healthy pregnancy.

In addition to these check-ups, keep up to date with annual dental checks, cancer screenings (including breast cancer and skin cancer) and see your regular GP for any chronic conditions that you may have.

Andria Aird, pharmacist and partner at Blooms The Chemist Joondalup.