Below are the common screenings you need to have to ensure a lifetime of good health.
Men and women in their 20s, 30s and 40s are encouraged to schedule a wellness visit every two years, followed by annual visits in their 50s, 60s and 70s. A full check-up typically includes height and weight measurements, blood pressure and pulse readings, and provides an opportunity to ask questions and share any health concerns you may have. Your healthcare professional may also ask you about your lifestyle choices such as drinking, smoking, nutrition, or physical activity.
Eye and Dental Exams
Vision and dental exams typically include screenings for vision and oral diseases, including eye cancer, glaucoma, cataracts, throat cancers and periodontal disease. See a dentist every six months, and schedule an eye exam annually.
Bone Density Test
A bone density test assesses the strength of the bones and screens for osteoporosis (the loss of bone mass), which is most common in older women. It uses X-rays to measure calcium and density in a segment of bone. Screenings are recommended for men and women over age 65.
A prostate exam is one of the best things men can do for their health. This exam diagnoses rectal tumors, prostate disorders, digestive disorders and other forms of cancer. Medical professionals recommend screenings between the ages of 40 to 50 years old, as these conditions are most treatable when identified early.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
A colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). It helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding. This test is recommended every 10 years for individuals aged 50 or older.
It is recommended that women have an annual female gynecological exam every year, beginning at age 21. This generally includes a pap test, a pelvic exam and a breast exam. The pap smear involves collecting cells from the cervix, which helps identify cervical cancer in women. A pelvic exam looks at internal reproductive organs and can detect ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids and abnormalities. The breast exam checks for lumps or changes in the breast that may mean a serious problem is present, such as breast cancer.
A mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breast that is used to detect and evaluate breast changes. The breast x-ray screens for tumors or deposits of calcium that can form in the tissue. These exams are vital because many forms of breast cancer are much more treatable if detected early. Women should schedule their first mammogram at age 40, and annually after that.
This article first appeared in the August/September 2015 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.