How Often Should You Get Routine Checkups at the Doctor?
Prevention and maintenance are important for many things in life, but especially so 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
- Skin check
- Vision and hearing
- Cancer screenings (breast, colorectal, cervical, testicular, and 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.
It is recommended to make an appointment with your primary care doctor annually, even when you are healthy, as you may be unaware of underlying conditions that could easily be caught and treated before they progress. 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 aged 40-64 should go in for a routine physical exam every 1-2 years depending on their health status. Common screenings and services for this age group include:
- Breast exam
- 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 their health status. Common screenings for this age group include:
- 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)
- 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, but 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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