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Preventative Screenings for a Healthy Life

March 15, 2023

a stethescope and a blood pressure cuff on a table

Have you ever wondered how healthy you really are? With our busy lives, it’s easy to neglect our well-being and forget to prioritize our health. However, taking care of yourself is crucial to living a happy and fulfilling life. One way to ensure that you are on the right track is by getting regular preventative screenings. In this article, we will be discussing the top screenings that you need to prioritize as well as the importance of these screenings, what they involve, and how often you should get them. So, let’s dive in!

The Importance of Preventative Screenings

When it comes to maintaining good health, prevention is key. As busy individuals, we often prioritize our daily tasks and responsibilities over our health, assuming that we are invincible and that nothing can go wrong. However, the truth is that our bodies are not immune to illnesses and diseases, and the only way to ensure that we are in good health is by undergoing regular wellness screenings. Screenings are important because they allow us to detect potential health problems early on before they become serious or life-threatening. By identifying health issues early, you can take the necessary steps to prevent them from worsening, which can save you from unnecessary pain, discomfort, and medical expenses. Additionally, regular screenings can help monitor your health over time, allowing you to make informed decisions about your lifestyle and healthcare needs in the future.

Recommended Preventative Screenings

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends various screenings for individuals. Depending on your age, sex, and family history, your healthcare provider may recommend different preventative screening tests. Here are some of the most common preventative recommendations:

  1. Colorectal cancer screening: This test checks for polyps or cancer in your colon or rectum. Starting at age 45, you should undergo regular screenings for colorectal cancer with a routine colonoscopy that is repeated every 10 years. If you do not want a colonoscopy, then stool screenings should be performed annually. Although this is an alternate option, the GOLD STANDARD is to undergo a colonoscopy. The frequency of this screening is based on personal and family history.
  2. Breast cancer screening: Women should undergo regular mammograms starting at age 50 and continue every two years until age 74. Depending on risk factors such as the BRCA gene or familial breast cancer, screenings can start as early as 40 years.
  3. Cervical cancer screening: This test checks for abnormal cells on the cervix that could lead to cancer. Women should have Pap smears every three years from ages 21 to 65. This can change to every 5 years for low-risk women aged 30-65, based on personal history.
  4. Prostate cancer screening: Men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctor at age 50, or earlier if there is a family history of the disease. Screening options can be done by physical exam and PSA blood test, physical exam preferred.
  5. Blood pressure screening: This test measures the force of blood against the walls of your arteries and can help detect high blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. It is recommended to get your blood pressure checked at least once every year if it is within a normal range (less than 120/80 mm Hg) and more frequently if it is high.
  6. Cholesterol screening: High levels of cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Adults should have their cholesterol levels checked regularly starting at age 35 for men and age 45 for women. This can also be done during your regular doctor visits.
  7. Diabetes screening: Adults ages 35-75 who have high blood pressure or are overweight should be regularly screened by measuring their hemoglobin A1C for fasting glucose (sugar) levels, the frequency is determined by your result. An A1C can be checked annually during a physical or as often as every 3 months.
  8. Lung cancer screening: Adults who have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 20 years aged 50-80 years should have an annual chest CT scan done based on their risk factors, age, and current smoking history.
  9. Osteoporosis screening: Screening should begin at age 65+. Especially for women, a DEXA bone scan can be done to help determine overall bone health and intervention for further bone loss.
  10. Abdominal aortic aneurism screening: Men between the ages of 65-75 years old who have a history of smoking should be screened at least once for an abdominal aortic aneurism.
  11. Hepatitis B and C screening: Screening is recommended for adults 18-79 who are at increased risk for infection and should have a one-time blood test screening for hepatitis C. Those at risk include people who have multiple sexual partners, use intravenous drugs, and receive tattoos or piercings.
  12. STD and HIV screening: Anyone ages 15-65 should be regularly tested for STDs, including HIV based on their sexual activity and risk factors with HIV screening done at least once.

It’s important to discuss your individual risk factors and preventative screening recommendations with your healthcare provider. Regular screenings can help detect potential health issues early on, when they are most treatable, and can help you maintain optimal health and well-being.

Conclusion

Prioritizing preventative screenings is a crucial step toward maintaining good health and preventing potential health issues. It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider to determine which screenings are appropriate for you based on your individual health history and risk factors. By regularly scheduling appointments for screenings such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and cancer screenings, individuals can catch potential health concerns early on and take the necessary actions to prevent them from developing into serious health issues. Remember, investing in your health is an investment in your future. What steps will you take to prioritize your health and wellness?

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