Important Annual Medical Exams

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Scheduling your healthcare visits, asking for the right health exams, and generally taking good care of yourself is so very important.  Here is a list of some to remember:

Visit your dentist once or twice a year for checkups, cleaning, oral exams and maintaining the overall health of your teeth. 

(I personally hope to keep my own teeth as long as possible so I see my dentist on a regular basis and brush and floss every day.)

How’s your hearing?  Do you find yourself straining when in conversations with others, particularly in crowded rooms?  How about the TV?  Have you been turning up that volume lately?  If so, it’s time to get your hearing checked.  It’s a good idea to have regular periodic checks so ask your doctor what he/she recommends.

Did you know that vision problems may begin to present themselves by the age of 45?  Most eye doctors recommend annual exams, even more so as we age.  If you are very near-sighted, have diabetes or a family history of glaucoma, getting tested for this is very important.  Particularly important for those over the age of 65, check with your eye doctor for what is recommended for you.

Some other general tests to remember are:

·         Having your blood pressure checked annually.

·         Depending on your risk factor, checking cholesterol levels might be needed each year or once every five years, depending on what your health care professional recommends.

·         Are you a diabetic?  Some high risk factors for diabetes include people of American Indian descent, Alaska natives, Hispanics & African Americans, and anyone with a family member who is a diabetic.  Being overweight is another factor for possible diabetes.

·         Women 65 or older should be tested annually for osteoporosis.  This is a bone density test that will show any changes needing attention.

·         Tuberculosis testing might be needed each year if you have been in close contact with someone having the disease.  Anyone who recently moved from Asia, Africa, Central or South America or the Pacific Islands is a prime candidate for TB also. 

·         After age 50, it is recommended that everyone undergo screening for colorectal cancer.  If you have had polyps in a previous screening, have a family member with colorectal cancer, breast cancer or cancer of the ovaries or uterus, this test could be lifesaving at any age.  Listen to your health care professional’s recommendations and follow them closely.

·         Mammograms are recommended every two years for women over the age of 40 and every year if you have a history of breast cancer in your immediate family, such as your mother or sister.

·         Along the same line of prevention for women, a Pap test is recommended every three years to detect any possible cervical cancer.  For women who have had a hysterectomy; however, the Pap test is no longer needed.

·         For men, after age 50 it is recommended that you be tested for prostate cancer.

These are just some of the recommended health screenings you should consider scheduling according to your health care professional’s recommendations.

Live healthy, live long, live well!