You feel fine, you feel great, you have no major worries in life, so you may think there is no reason to get a medical checkup. Some people think you should only see you doctor when you’re sick, just like you only visit the mechanic when your car breaks down. They may have a point, but you should also keep in mind that if the car is beyond repair, you can buy another one. But if a medical condition is not detected in time, it won’t be easy to get a replacement.
How often should you get checked?
For people who feel healthy and have no existing medical conditions, the recommendation will vary by age.
- 19 – 21 years old: once every 2 to 3 years
- 22 – 64 years old: every 1 to 3 years
- Over 65 years old: every year*
These are the recommendations for healthy people who do not smoke and do not have chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, circulation problems, or even depression. If you have any of these conditions, you should follow your doctor’s guidelines.
Another factor to consider when deciding how frequently you should see the doctor is your family history. Individuals with family members who have reported conditions like cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other hereditary diseases should visit their doctor more frequently. The doctor will determine the frequency of visits after conducting an evaluation.
What everyone should have
Even if you are fit, you should take these preventive measures to stay at your peak health.
- Check your blood pressure every 2 years
- Make sure your immunizations are up to date:
- Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster immunization within the last 10 years
- Chickenpox, if you have never had it or been vaccinated
- Mumps-measles-rubella, if you didn’t get it as a child
- Meningitis, if you are under 24 years old and have never been vaccinated
- Hepatitis A or B, if you are at risk
After age 40:
- Check your cholesterol levels every 5 years
- Colorectal cancer screening every year or a colonoscopy every 10 years
- Lung cancer screening if you smoke or quit less than 15 years ago
- After age 60, get your shingles vaccination every year
- After 65, get vaccinated against pneumococcus
Men and women have specific screening needs. Here is a brief list of some of the tests each one should undergo.
In addition to normal blood pressure and blood sugar tests, women should have pelvic and breast exams every year to screen for cancer and other conditions.
Between the ages of 18 and 29:
- HPV vaccine
- PAP smear for cervical cancer screening every three years
Between 30 and 49 years old:
- One PAP smear every 5 years
- Ask your doctor if you should have a mammogram
Over 50 years old:
- Annual mammograms, up to 75 years of age
- PAP smear every 5 years, until 65 to 70 years of age
- Bone densitometry test after 50 years of age
After menopause, ask your doctor what your screening schedule should be.
Up to the age of 50, men should have the recommended routine tests to establish a comparative history.
Over 50 years old:
- Bone densitometry test. (Although osteoporosis is more common in women, men can also suffer from bone density loss).
- Ask your doctor when you should begin prostate cancer screenings, taking into account your family history.
- If you have smoked or are a smoker after age 65, you should have an ultrasound to check for abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Your dental health is also very important. You should visit your dentist for a cleaning at least twice a year.
Better safe than sorry! Many chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, show no symptoms at first, but they do have an effect on your body. Detecting them early is essential in order to manage them properly.
Make your checkup appointment at our Salus clinics today! Call us at 787.789.1996 or schedule your appointment at saluspr.com.