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Healthy Living

Health checklists for adults

Make your health care practitioner your partner in health

In addition to providing routine screenings, your health care practitioner can counsel you on a variety of topics, including smoking cessation, sexually transmitted disease prevention, pregnancy, diet, exercise and injury prevention. He or she can also tell you whether you're a candidate for aspirin therapy to prevent heart disease. So discuss your health problems and concerns honestly with your health care practitioner and don't be afraid to ask questions about how you can improve your health.

One good way to improve your health is to use a checklist to track preventive care. Review the following recommendations based on age and gender, then check off the screenings you have received. Use this checklist to discuss your ongoing preventive health care needs with your health care practitioner.

All Adults

  • Blood pressure check -- Blood pressure should be checked every two years starting at age 18.

  • Cholesterol check -- Total cholesterol should be checked every five years for men ages 35 to 65, women age 45 to 65 and at your physician's discretion after age 65.

  • Colorectal cancer screenings -- If you're at risk for colorectal cancer, you should be screened, beginning at age 50. The screening may include one of the following: an annual stool occult blood test; a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years; an annual stool occult blood test plus a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years; a double-contrast barium enema every five years; or a colonoscopy every 10 years.

  • Diabetes screenings -- If you are at increased risk for diabetes, your health care provider may recommend a fasting blood sugar test every three years beginning at age 45.

  • Weight check -- Your physician should record your weight at least every one to three years.

  • Tuberculosis skin test -- It may be advised if you are at high risk

  • Vision, hearing, gait and balance evaluations -- If you are age 65 or older, these screenings are essential. And, you should review with your doctor ways to reduce your risk of falling and injuring yourself.

Women

  • Pap tests -- REcommended annually, then at least every three years after three consecutive normal results.

  • Pelvic exams -- Recommended every one to three years.

  • Screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) -- If you are at high risk for STDs, you may benefit from periodic screenings. Routine screenings for chlamydia are recommended for all sexually active women age 25 and younger.

  • Breast exams -- You should have clinical breast exams every three years from ages 20 to 40, and annually after age 40.

  • Mammography -- From ages 40 to 49, mammograms are recommended every one to two years for women at increased risk of breast cancer or at the physician's or patient's discretion. From ages 50 to 69, women should have mammograms every one to two years. Beginning at age 70, women should have mammograms at the physician's or patient's discretion. Talk to your physician to determine your risk level and recommended frequency of screenings.

Men

  • Testicular cancer -- Have your doctor include a testicular exam during physicals if you are between the ages of 18 and 40.

  • Prostate cancer -- If you are between 50 and 65, speak to your physician about the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening. Your physician may suggest a digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen test. If you are at high risk for prostate cancer, such as having multiple first-degree relatives with the disease, speak to your physician about prostate cancer beginning at age 40.

This information is not intended to replace your doctor's advice. Talk to your doctor to see if these tests are right for you. He or she may recommend testing based on your age, gender and medical history.

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