The path to good health includes staying up-to-date on health screenings and diagnostic exams. Timely care and early detection can prevent serious illnesses and improve outcomes. The following are commonly recommended general health screenings for both men and women. You may also want to talk with your primary care physician about other possible screenings based on your personal or family medical history.
· Age 18 – Routine wellness exam and labs are recommended for both men and women beginning at age 18 and then performed on an annual basis. Blood sugar levels should also be screened to determine risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes.
· Age 20 – Cholesterol screenings are recommended for men and women every five years to assess the risk for cardiovascular disease. In families with a high incidence of cardiovascular disease, screenings may be recommended for children and adolescents as well.
· Age 21 – A Pap smear is recommended for women once every 3 years to test for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix, the opening to the uterus. No physician referral is needed, and OB/GYN physicians provide these screenings.
· Age 40 – A mammogram, to screen for breast abnormalities including cancer, is recommended for women at age 40 and then each year or two years thereafter depending on family history. No referral or doctor’s order is needed for an annual screening mammogram.
· Age 45 – The American Diabetes Association recommends both males and females be screened for diabetes.
· Age 45 – A colonoscopy is recommended for men and women to detect any abnormalities in the large intestine and rectum, as well as for colon cancer. Physicians base their recommendations for follow-up screenings on the findings of the initial colonoscopy and family history.
· Age 50 – A prostate screening is recommended for men on an annual basis to help detect prostate cancer. This screening is performed by a urologist and includes a physical exam as well as blood work to measure prostate-specific antigen (PSA) present in the blood.
· Age 60 – A DEXA scan for both men and women to measure bone density is recommended. This scan can help determine if you are at risk for osteoporosis. Physicians will then recommend appropriate follow-up screenings in subsequent years.
So, take control of your health by getting age-related screenings. It is important for you to speak with your primary care physician to schedule these screenings and ensure you stay on the path to good health!