Preventative healthcare is all about taking measures to prevent disease, instead of just treating it when we develop uncomfortable symptoms. The best thing you can do as an individual to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to make sure you’re getting the care you need. Here are the most important screening methods everyone should add to their calendar:
Routine Wellness Checkup
Why? Your primary care physician can help you keep tabs on your general health with a physical exam, updated medical history, blood pressure check, routine labs, and even preventative counseling.
When? Every six months.
Why? In order to avoid cavities or gum disease, it’s important to receive a dental checkup at least twice a year to detect the beginnings of any potential infection instead of waiting until crisis treatment becomes necessary.
When? Annually for men over age 35 and women over age 40.
Why? In order to detect and measure plaque buildup in the coronary arteries which can lead to heart disease and increase the risk of heart attack, particularly in individuals with increased risk factors (ie., high blood pressure, smokers, family history of heart disease, diabetes, etc.).
When: At your doctor’s discretion until age 40, and then every 1-2 years after.
Why? Unless you’ve developed astigmatism or another vision issue that needs to be corrected, most people with good vision may not need to receive regular eye exams until about 40, when
When? Every 1-2 years starting at age 40 to 45 for women, depending on risk factors.
Why? Mammograms are a good way to detect breast cancer especially at an early stage when it is most treatable— as early as two years before any irregularities can be detected from a physical breast exam.