A healthy life: Advice for women from their 20s to their 80s

Your guide to staying healthy at every age and stage of life

Portrait of six confident women of different ages and ethnicities, smiling.

Your regular wellness visit is a great step in being preventive about your health. Your doctor will help you understand which screenings and vaccines are right for you based on your age, risk factors and health history.

Women should see their primary care doctor routinely for a  wellness visit. During this time, your doctor will ask you about recent changes in your health and will identify if there are diseases you may be at risk for. Your risk factors can come from your medical history, your lifestyle, your family history of disease, or current medications that you are using.

These visits are often covered by insurance once a year at no additional cost to you.

Vaccinations may be recommended, such as the annual flu shot or the COVID-19 vaccine. They are viewed as preventive medicine, something to keep you healthy and avoid a serious medical problems in the future.

Guidelines and recommendations for when you need specific screening tests and vaccines vary by age and risk factors, but a regular wellness visit is important to help prevent disease at all ages.

Certain health screenings are important for every woman to have every year. Using your height and weight your provider can identify your risk for diabetesheart disease and osteoporosis.

Blood pressure measurements and other vital signs may indicate a risk for cardiovascular disease. Women are also screened for safety in their home (domestic violence), depression, and tobacco and alcohol use at their regular wellness visit.

Learn more about wellness visits.

Preventive screenings are key to catching diseases early when they’re most treatable — and before they become serious.

Here’s a guide for preventive health for women by age. You may follow a different screening schedule or get additional screenings based on your needs. Your primary care provider will help create a personalized screening schedule for you.

Women in their 20s need:

  • Regular wellness visits
  • Cholesterol screening once between the ages of 21 to 29
  • Vaccinations, including the HPV vaccination given up to age 45
  • Cervical cancer screening every three years starting at age 21
  • Practice breast self-awareness at home

Your doctor may also recommend:

  • Sexually transmitted disease screening
  • HIV screening
  • Skin cancer screening
  • Diabetes screening
  • Hepatitis B and C screening

Women in their 30s need:

  • Regular wellness visits
  • Cholesterol screenings every five years between the ages of 30 to 44
  • Vaccinations
  • Cervical cancer screening every five years
  • Practice breast self-awareness at home

Your doctor may also recommend:

Women in their 40s need:

  • Regular wellness visits
  • Cholesterol screenings every five years between the ages of 30 to 44 and annually starting at age 45
  • Annual mammogram
  • Vaccinations
  • Cervical cancer screening every five years
  • Colorectal cancer screenings starting at age 45 – stool tests every 1-3 years or colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Practice breast self-awareness at home

Your doctor may also recommend:

  • Sexually transmitted disease screening
  • HIV screening
  • Skin cancer screening
  • Diabetes screening
  • Hepatitis B and C screening

Women in their 50s need:

  • Regular wellness visits
  • Annual cholesterol screening
  • Annual mammogram
  • Vaccinations, including the shingles vaccine
  • Cervical cancer screening every five years
  • Colorectal cancer screenings – stool tests every 1-3 years or colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Practice breast self-awareness at home

Your doctor may also recommend:

  • Sexually transmitted disease screening
  • HIV screening
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Skin cancer screening
  • Hepatitis B and C screening

Women in their 60s need:

  • Regular wellness visits
  • Annual cholesterol screening
  • Annual mammogram
  • Vaccinations
  • Cervical cancer screening every five years through age 65
  • Colorectal cancer screenings – stool tests every 1-3 years or colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Practice breast self-awareness at home

Your doctor may also recommend:

  • Sexually transmitted disease screening
  • HIV screening
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Skin cancer screening
  • Hepatitis B and C screening
  • Bone mineral density screening

Women in their 70s need:

  • Regular wellness visits
  • Annual cholesterol screening
  • Annual mammogram
  • Vaccinations
  • Pap smear and HPV cotest or an HPV test every five years through age 65
  • Colorectal cancer screenings through age 75 – stool tests every 1-3 years or colonoscopy every 10 years; talk to your provider if screening beyond 75 is needed
  • Practice breast self-awareness at home

Your doctor may also recommend:

Women in their 80s need:

  • Regular wellness visits
  • Annual cholesterol screening
  • Annual mammogram
  • Vaccinations
  • Practice breast self-awareness at home

Your doctor may also recommend:

As you can see, screenings for women are not “one size fits all.” Talk with your provider to determine your risk factors and the right screening schedule for you.

Schedule a wellness visit online at My Sanford Chart. Once you log in, select Visits in the navigation and tap the Schedule an appointment button.

Learn more

Posted In Cancer, Gynecology, Healthy Living, Heart, Imaging, Internal Medicine, Women's