Health screening guidelines we can all use.
Make a 2020 commitment to a better and healthier YOU. Many of us put off our self-care. We prioritize work, family, and other obligations before taking care of ourselves. Make 2020 different.
Here is a basic health screening checklist you can use as a guide to optimizing your health. We want you to lead a longer and healthier life. This list should be used as a discussion guide between you and your primary care physician as recommendations will vary with age and other risk factors.
- Schedule a routine physical exam
- Find out your body mass index: Work with your doctor to determine a goal. Weight management is a challenge but a key step to living healthy.
- Blood pressure evaluation: Get your blood pressure checked. Current recommendations are for tight blood pressure control and early intervention.
- Breast cancer screening: Get your mammogram updated. Recommendations for women are to start annually at age 40 or sooner if there is a family history. Men with a family history or a breast mass may also need screening.
- Colorectal cancer screening: Colonoscopy once every ten years starting at age 50. African Americans should begin at age 45. Anyone with a family history may need to commence screening earlier.
- Cervical cancer screening: Pap smears and pelvic exams should start at age 21 until 66.
- Cholesterol analysis: recommendations vary by age, weight, and medical conditions.
- Diabetes screening: recommendations vary by age, weight, and medical conditions.
- Update your vaccinations. You can check the recommendations for your age group on the CDC vaccine schedule. Flu shots should be done every year. The HPV vaccine is now recommended for those age 9–45.
- Exercise 30 minutes a day. We all make excuses, but daily exercise is crucial to our health.
- Meditate at least 5 min a day. Try Headspace if you are new to the idea of Mindfulness.
- Eye exam: Protect your eyes and get them tested.
- Dental exam: Dental hygiene has an impact on your overall health beyond clean and pretty teeth.
- Assess your bad habits: Quit smoking and assess your alcohol intake. If you use any drugs, be open and honest with your doctor to ask for help.
- Sexually transmitted infection testing: If you are sexually active, then get tested. Help protect yourself and others. STIs are common, and anyone sexually active is at risk.
- Bone density testing: Start at age 65 or sooner if risk factors for osteoporosis are present.
- Mental health assessment: Ask for depression screening. Be open and honest about any issues with which you are struggling. Never be afraid to ask about Postpartum depression. Many of us struggle with insomnia. Your doctor can help, but you must share your concerns.
- Testicular and prostate screening: Men need to discuss the recommendations for screening with their doctor.
- Family planning: If you plan to get pregnant, start taking a Prenatal Vitamin daily. If you are sexually active and do not want to be pregnant, then come in for a visit to discuss your birth control options. Be pregnant when you are ready.
- Nutrition assessment: Evaluate your diet and find areas to improve. Some may want to lose weight, while others may need to gain weight. Many of us simply want to feel better. Improving our diet is crucial.
By: Dr. Jeff Livingston