Have You Had Your Health Screenings this Year?

Have You Had Your Health Screenings this Year?

Whether it’s your annual wellness visit or your cholesterol test, it’s important to keep up with your health screenings. They play an important role in catching small health problems before they become big ones.

Add your annual exam and health screenings to your to-do list to make sure they get done. If you still need some of them before the end of the year, schedule a visit with your doctor now. Available appointments fill up as the end of the year approaches.

Have You Had Your Annual Exam?

An annual checkup includes a complete physical exam. It’s also time to talk with your doctor about your health history and any changes in health you’re noticing. You can ask about what screenings are right for you. You can also work with your doctor to set specific health goals.

These visits may include:

  • Services, like shots, that improve your health by preventing diseases and other health problems.
  • Screenings to check for things like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
  • Tests for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Education and counseling about your lifestyle, like how you handle stress, your diet and your level of activity.
What Health Screenings or Tests Do Adults Need?

Health screenings help prevent illness and catch problems early when they’re easier to treat.

Depending on your age and health history, some screenings you may need include:

  • Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) test: The HbA1c blood test leaving site icon is used to diagnose diabetes or prediabetes. And for those who have diabetes, it shows how well your diabetes is being managed. If it shows you have prediabetes, you can make lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes.
  • Blood pressure: You should have your blood pressure checked at every health care visit (at least once a year). High blood pressure increases your risk for serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
  • Cholesterol: A high cholesterol level puts you at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. There are no symptoms, so a blood test is the only way to know your levels. Talk to your doctor about how often you should have your cholesterol checked.
  • Colorectal cancer screening: Men and women age 45 to 75 should be screened for colon cancer. Talk to your doctor about what type of test is best for you and how often you should be screened.
  • Mammogram: Finding and treating breast cancer early is the best way to improve the chances of recovery. Since breast cancer may have no symptoms in early stages, getting regular mammograms is the best way to find it early. Talk to your doctor about when you should start getting mammograms and how often you need one.
  • Cervical cancer screening: Women ages 21 to 65 should be regularly screened for cervical cancer. Screening, including a pelvic exam, a Pap test and an HPV test, can catch problems before they become cancer or find cancer early enough to treat it. How often this screening is needed depends on your age and other risk factors.
  • Vaccinations: People of all ages need vaccines to stay healthy. Make sure you and your family are up to date on your vaccinations.
  • Comprehensive eye exam: A comprehensive eye exam, leaving site icon including dilation, leaving site icon can find diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration in their early stages. They can also check for early signs of other health issues like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Talk with your doctor about how often you need to have an eye exam.

There may be additional screenings or tests that you need. Talk to your doctor about what health screenings you need and when you need them.

What Do Kids Need?

Kids of all ages need an annual wellness exam just like adults do. It is sometimes called a well-child visit. Regular exams leaving site icon help the doctor track your child’s growth and development. They can also catch problems early.

During a well-child visit, your child’s doctor may check:

  • Height and weight
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart and lungs
  • Abdomen, glands and lymph nodes
  • Ears
  • Vision
  • Spine alignment

Older kids need checkups, too. Some diseases and conditions first show up after puberty. Scoliosis, diabetes, obesity and depression are just some of the health issues teens can have. So be sure they get their health screenings, too.

Having an annual exam and recommended screenings are important steps toward better health at any age. If you haven’t had all of the screenings you need yet this year, schedule them today.

Wellness Guidelines: An Easy Path to Better Health

We offer Wellness Guidelines each year that include specific recommendations for preventive care, immunizations and screenings for adults and children. Check out the Wellness Guidelines to find out what preventive care you and your family need to stay healthy.

Sources: Why You Need an Annual Physical (and What to Expect), leaving site icon  Cleveland Clinic, 2021; Understanding A1C: A1C does it all, leaving site icon  American Diabetes Association; Facts About Hypertension, leaving site icon  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2021; Measure Your Blood Pressure, leaving site icon  CDC, 2021; Cholesterol, leaving site icon  CDC, 2020; Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests, leaving site icon  CDC, 2022; Breast Cancer Early Detection and Diagnosis, leaving site icon  American Cancer Society; Cervical Cancer, leaving site icon  CDC, 2021; Vaccine Preventable Adult Diseases, leaving site icon  CDC, 2022; Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule, leaving site icon  CDC, 2022; Comprehensive eye exams, leaving site icon  American Optometric Association; Get a Dilated Eye Exam, leaving site icon  National Eye Institute, 2021; 20 Surprising Health Problems an Eye Exam Can Catch, leaving site icon  American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2022; The Benefits of Well-Child Visits, leaving site icon  American Academy of Pediatrics, 2021
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