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How Often Should You Get Routine Checkups at the Doctor?

How Often Should You Get Routine Checkups at the Doctor?

Prevention and maintenance is important for many things in life, but it is especially important when it comes to our physical health. The goal of preventative care is to identify risk factors and underlying signs and symptoms before an illness or disease becomes chronic, or life-threatening. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease and 4 in 10 adults have two or more. The main chronic contributors to death and disability include heart disease, cancer, and diabetes all of which can be controlled, minimized, or prevented if caught early. Common preventative services and screenings  include:

  • Blood pressure 
  • Diabetes screening
  • Cholesterol
  • Skin check
  • Dental
  • Vision and hearing
  • Vaccinations
  • Cancer screenings (breast, colorectal, cervical, testicular, prostate)

The logic of preventative care and its benefits is a no-brainer, but in reality, only about 20 percent of adults in America actually get the recommended preventative services. This could be caused by a number of factors including lack of information, fear of the doctor, or not having health insurance. 

You should make it a routine to visit your primary care doctor consistently, even when you are healthy, as you may be unaware of an underlying condition that could easily be caught and treated before it progresses. The recommended time-frame for routine preventative care is outlined below. 

Young Adults (18-39)

Young adults should go in for a routine physical exam once every two years. Common screenings and services include:

  • Breast exam
  • Pelvic exam and PAP smear
  • STD screening
  • Pregnancy and family planning
  • Testicular cancer screening
  • Annual flu shot
  • TDAP booster (every 10 years)

Adults (40-64)

Adults aged 40-64 should go in for a routine physical exam every 1-2 years depending on health status. Common screenings and services for this age group include:

  • Breast exam
  • Mammogram 
  • Colorectal screening (beginning at age 50)
  • Osteoporosis screening (bone density test)
  • Annual flu vaccine
  • Shingles vaccine (after age 60)
  • Prostate exam

Seniors (65 and older)

Seniors above the age of 65 should go in for a routine physical exam every year, and possibly more depending on health status. Common screenings for this age group include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Mammogram (every two years for women age 65-74)
  • Pelvic exam and PAP Smear (may stop after age 65 if you have had 3 negative tests in the last 10 years)
  • Colorectal screening (until the age of 75)
  • Glaucoma
  • Annual flu vaccine
  • Pneumococcal vaccine

Catching the warning signs upstream through primary prevention can decrease your chance of chronic disease and illness downstream, or later-in-life. 

These recommendations and guidelines fall under the umbrella of preventative care and everyone is different. You should always consult with your doctor about how often you should receive medical treatment, services and screenings. 

At Tripment, we believe that healthcare can be done better, and it starts with helping people understand the importance of preventative care, and what screenings and services are available to them. Click here to find a reputable primary care provider who can help you stay on top of your routine medical needs. 

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