If you’re like most people, you don’t make a point to see a doctor until you’re feeling sick. There’s a debate in the medical community about whether annual health physicals are actually necessary and can do more harm than good. But there’s still something to be said for getting health check-ups once in a while for preventative care and to catch symptoms before they progress into major issues.
Everyone’s body is different, and it’s best to get personalized advice from someone who understands your own unique health concerns. But to help you navigate preventative care a bit better, here are some general recommendations for health screenings at various ages.
Health Screenings in Your 20s
Starting in your early 20s, it’s a good idea to have your blood pressure checked at least every couple of years. High blood pressure is a huge risk factor of heart attack and stroke, and you don’t have to be very old to experience symptoms of a weak heart. Healthy blood pressure is considered to be 120/80. Also, get your cholesterol checked in your 20s and every five or six years at this point. Another test that’s good to get in your 20s is a STD screening. In fact, STD tests are recommended as soon as a man or women becomes sexually active and for anyone who has unprotected sex with a new partner or with someone with an unknown sexual past.
Health Screenings in Your 30s
By your early 30s, it’s a good idea to get a diabetes screening to check blood glucose levels and determine your risk of becoming diabetic if you are overweight or who have a family history of the disease. Anyone else can probably wait until reaching the mid-40s age range. Other possible screenings to have in your 30s are for skin cancer, an HPV test, cholesterol test, and blood pressure check. This is also a good time of life to ask your doctor about nutrient deficiencies that you may have and whether natural supplements can help fill gaps in your diet.
Health Screenings in Your 40s
When you reach your 40s, it’s a good idea to get your blood pressure checked every year, especially if you are often stressed out or have a history of heart disease. Men and women in their 40s should continue to get their cholesterol checked at least every five years, or more frequently for adults with a family history of high cholesterol. Diabetes screenings are recommended for adults starting at around age 45 and at least every three years for adults who have significant risk factors. Men who have a family history of prostate cancer should consider getting tested in their mid-40s as well. Mammograms become important for women starting in their 40s also.
Health Screenings in Your 50s and Beyond
Men should look into getting prostrate screenings and colon cancer screenings around the age of 50. This is an important screening for men to have up until the age of 75 or so to detect possible cancer growth early. Meanwhile, both men and women should think about getting an osteoporosis screening in their 50s and on an ongoing basis if bone issues are present. In your 50s and beyond, and depending upon your risk factors, you may also consider screenings for lipid disorders, depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease to detect and begin treating potential issues as early as possible.