Doctor visits aren’t only reserved for when you feel sick. You should also consult with your doctor regularly to get medical tests and screenings to ensure that you’re in top form. Early detection of certain health problems also means you can treat it immediately and save yourself the heartache of suffering from more serious issues in the long run. Depending on how old you are, there are tests that you don’t necessarily need to get every year, but there are certain tests that you should get regardless of your age. The following are some of the essential medical tests and screenings you shouldn’t miss.
If you’re a woman with a female family member who was diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age, you should be getting annual mammograms, particularly closest to the age when the family member was first diagnosed. Depending on your medical history and risk factors for breast cancer, your healthcare provider may also recommend a breast ultrasound or a closed or open MRI scan.
You should get your blood pressure checked at least once every 2 to 3 years. If you have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or kidney problems, then you should have your blood pressure checked at least once a year.
Regular cervical cancer screenings are recommended for women ages 21 and up. Pap tests should be done every three years for women ages 21 through 29. For women aged 30 through 65, either a Pap test should be done every three years or an HPV test every five years.
If you have a family history of kidney problems, diabetes, or heart disease, then you need to get your cholesterol checked at least every 2 to 3 years or whenever you gain or lose a considerable amount of weight or change your diet.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. When you get your annual physical exam, you may also inquire about a mental assessment from your primary care provider, especially if you’ve been experiencing any of the following symptoms for more than two consecutive weeks:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, irritable, or anxious
- Loss of interest in regular hobbies
- Change in appetite
- Decreased motivation or energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Change in sleep habits
- Thoughts of death or suicide
If you have a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, are overweight or have a body mass index (BMI) over 25, then you should get a regular diabetes screening at least once every two years.
All adults aged 19 and up are advised to get a seasonal flu shot every year. You should also get one acellular pertussis (Tdap) if you didn’t receive it as a child and a tetanus-diphtheria booster shot every ten years.
You should get a dental exam and routine cleaning at least once or twice a year. Your dentist might suggest more frequent visits if necessary.
You should pay your dermatologist a visit at least once a year for a comprehensive skin exam to check if you have any abnormal freckles, birthmarks, or moles. This is to check if you have skin cancer or melanoma. More frequent visits may be needed if you’re regularly exposed to the sun.
If you have issues with your vision, you should have an eye exam done at least every two years or so, or as recommended by your eye doctor.
Monitoring your health guarantees you a long, healthy life. Getting these screenings and tests done regularly or as needed can help determine your risk, improve the quality of your life, and prevent any health complications in the future.