How Often Do You Need A Health Screening?

Doctor measuring blood pressureWhen is the last time you had a full health screening? As a child you go to the doctor frequently for check ups, immunizations, as well as the common cold and flu spread around school like wildfire. As you get older visits to the doctor may become far less frequent, especially if you are healthy and experience little to no abnormal health issues. Even if you are completely healthy you should regularly see a doctor for a health screening in order to check for a number of things, such as:

-Any underlying diseases
-Assess your risk for developing medical issues in the future.
-Stay up to date on vaccinations
-Maintain a healthy life style

The exact amount of time you should let span between each health screening depends upon your age and personal health history. For instance, if you smoke or have high blood pressure you should see your doctor more often for health screenings.

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Find your age group below to find out how frequently you need a health screening.

Ages 18-39

Physical exams should be conducted 2 times throughout both your 20s and 30s. At each exam your weight, height and BMI will be measured. In most cases healthy young women and men do not require blood tests.

Some of the most important things your health screening will check for include:

Blood Pressure: You should have your blood pressure checked once every 2 years. If your blood pressure is on the borderline of unsafe you should have it checked once a year.

Cholesterol Screening: This is only necessary in this age range if you have a pre-disposition to heart disease. Otherwise, cholesterol screening does not typically begin until you are 45.

Diabetes Screening: This is another important component to your health you need to have checked out. If your blood pressure measures over 135/80 mm your doctor will test your blood sugar levels. If you are overweight or have other risk factors associated with diabetes you should be tested regularly.

Immunizations: Your doctor will make sure you are up to date on all necessary vaccinations.

Women Only:
Breast, Pelvic Exam & Pap Smear: All three of these exams should be performed at least once every three years.

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Ages 40- 64

For adults between 40 and 64 you should undergo a health screening once every one to two years.

The most important things doctors are screening for in this age group include:

-Blood Pressure Screening: You should have your blood pressure checked every 2 years, or once a year if your numbers are borderline unhealthy.

-Cholesterol Screening: If you are 44+ you need to have your cholesterol checked once every 5 years. If you have issues related to diabetes, kidney problems, or heart disease you may require more frequent blood pressure tests.

Diabetes: You should be checked for diabetes once every 3 years if you are 44+.

Colon Cancer Screening: If you are 50-75 you should be regularly screened for colorectal cancer. If everything seems fine you will only need a colonoscopy once every 10 years. There are less invasive screenings available that you can undergo more regularly.

Osteoporosis Screening: All postmenopausal women with fractures require a bone density test.

Lung Cancer Screening: This is especially important if you currently smoke or have quit smoking within the last 15 years.

Immunizations: It is advised to get the flu shot once a year. Your doctor can help you decide if you need any other immunizations as well.

Women Only:

Mammogram: You should have a mammogram once every one to two years.

Pap Smear: You should have a pap smear conducted once every 3 years.
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Men Only:

Prostate Cancer Screening: Men 50 and older need to be screened for prostate cancer. If you have a history of prostate cancer in your family you should begin screening at 45. (Learn More)

Age 65+

Anyone 65 and older requires a health screening once a year. Some important things a doctor will check you out for include:

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening: If you are between 65 and 75 and have a history of smoking you will need this type of ultrasound test.

Blood Pressure Screening: This should be conducted once a year if you are 65 and older.

Cholesterol and Heart Disease Screening: This should be conducted once every 5 years if you have no known related issues.

Lung Cancer Screening: This should be performed until you are 80 if you have smoked in the past or quit within the last 15 years.

Colon Cancer Screening: This screening should be performed until you are 75 every few years.

Diabetes Screening: This should take place once every 3 years.

Hearing Test


Women Only:
Mammograms: You should get a mammogram every one to two years until age 75.

Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear: At 65 most women are okay to stop undergoing pap smears if they have not had a negative test within the last 10 years.
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Men Only:
Prostate Cancer Screening: This is something you should discuss with your doctor at your physical exam.
(Learn More)
At any stage of your life you can visit your local Urgent Medical Center for your regular health screenings. We are here to help you maintain a life full of joy and good health.

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