Compare TOP
health insurance quotes

Get a free quote and start saving now!

7 Medical Exams You Should Never Ignore

by Staci Marks on May 10, 2012

Some health check-ups might be overly expensive or unnecessary (depending on age and frequency), while others are vitally important. Sometimes going to see the doctor when you’re not sick is the best preventative precaution you can take. Screening tests increase your chances of beating virtually any disease or condition, as catching it in its earliest stages is also its most treatable stage. While you should always discuss your specific needs and medical history with your doctor, it’s a good rule of thumb to get regular check-ups. You should be screened for these following seven medical exams regularly:

  1. Blood Pressure

    Even healthy adults should have their blood pressure checked on a regular basis (every two years, or six to 12 months if you have a history of hypertension). Healthy blood pressure levels are 120.80 or less, while 140/90 is considered pretty high. Your blood pressure can predict some serious heart conditions, as well as your risk of strokes. If you’re generally healthy with little health concerns, you can even get a blood pressure reader at your local pharmacy.

  2. Cholesterol Check

    To determine your risk for heart disease, finding out the amount of cholesterol in your blood is an important first step in assessing your lipid profile. The amount of LDL, HDL, and triglycerides in your blood can determine if your arteries are getting clogged, which increases your risk of heart disease. The results of this test can also give you perspective on the amount of cholesterol in your diet, and whether or not you may need to adjust your diet. This screening requires at least 12 hours of fasting the night before your test, so schedule it accordingly.

  3. Mammograms

    It’s important for women to get an annual mammogram, along with a monthly breast self-examination, if possible. Since mammograms find between 85 to 90% of breast cancer and find cancers up to two years before they can be felt, the cancer is mostly curable during its early stages. Women in their 20s and 30s generally can get a clinical breast exam at least every three years. Once women reach their 40s, an annual mammogram would be ideal, since increased risks are associated with aging and menopause.

  4. Pap Smears

    An important measure against early detection of cervical cancer, regular Pap smears should be conducted at recommended intervals for sexually active women (once every three years starting at age 21.) A Pap test can save your life, if the earliest signs of cervical cancer are detected. It can also find infections and abnormal cervical cells. Women who have been through menopause also still need regular Pap tests.

  5. Colorectal Screening

    Colorectal cancer screening can detect cancerous or abnormal cell growth in your colon or rectum area. Early detection of tumor growth is extremely vital in treatment. Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer for men and women, and is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, according to The National Cancer Institute. Your health care provider may suggest a couple tests including a fecal occult blood test (FOBT), colonoscopy, or sigmoidoscopy, among other tests. Men and women without a family history should consider their initial screening starting at age 50, and once every 10 years after.

  6. Blood Glucose Levels

    Starting at age 45, blood glucose screenings should be done every three years. For obese or diabetics, this must be done much sooner. Glucose testing is used to diagnose or rule out diabetes and pre-diabetes, as well as monitor treatment and diet for diabetics. Patients over the age of 40 should be tested regularly in order to start treatment early on.

  7. Bone Mineral Density Test (BMD)

    A BMD test is an important screening to help detect osteoporosis and prevent bone fractures. People around 65 years of age should consider getting regular bone mineral density tests done, which may include a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA scan) or a chest x-ray. Maintaining an accurate bone mass measurement can give you early insight on any preventative medications and healthy habits to slow or even reverse bone loss.

Related posts:

  1. Osteoporosis: Prevention and Treatment
Share This...

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: