One of the best ways to avoid—or at least minimize—many diseases and conditions is to catch warning signs early. That is why annual health screenings are so important.
Screenings can help your physician identify signs of:
- Some cancers
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions
Start with an annual physical
An annual physical is a great time to touch base with your physician and update them on any changes in your health and lifestyle. Your physician will likely start by asking you questions about how you feel (both mentally and physically); your eating, drinking, and smoking habits; and other aspects of your health.
Most annual physicals include a head-to-toe physical exam, pulse and blood pressure checks, and blood work. The blood work may include a complete blood count, as well as screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol, hepatitis C, thyroid levels, and other conditions.
Your physician may recommend additional screenings depending on your personal health profile, including:
- Eye exam
- Hearing exam
- Osteoporosis test
- Pap smear every three years
- Prostate exam
- Sexually transmitted disease (STD) tests
Decide with your physician
Based on your family history, along with your age and current health, your physician will recommend which screenings to get. Together, you can make decisions about how often to get those screenings and any other preventive measures you should take.