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There’s still time to add a New Year’s resolution to your list, especially when it comes to prioritizing your health. Stay on top of your whole health with an annual physical that includes talking with your doctor about which screenings you should consider this year.
Health Screening Guidelines for Women and Men
Some health screenings are universal, while others depend on your biology. With help from our family medicine expert, Zaynab Rasheed, MD, we’re breaking down recommended screenings by gender.
Health Screenings for Women
According to Dr. Rasheed, “Women aged 21 to 65 should have a Pap smear once every three years to rule out medical problems like cervical cancer. A sample of cells from your cervix is sent to a lab for assessment.”
“Screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society recommend women at average risk for breast cancer have an annual mammogram beginning at age 40,” explains Dr. Rasheed.
Health Screenings for Men
The American Cancer Society recommends most men ages 50 and older have a prostate exam to check for signs of prostate cancer. “Your doctor can perform a physical exam or order a blood test to check your blood for prostate-specific antigen (PSA),” says Dr. Rasheed.
Health Screenings for Both Women and Men
The American Heart Association recommends healthy adults have their cholesterol checked every four to six years beginning at the age of 20, increasing in frequency as you age or your health changes.
Tests for depression come in the form of screening questions from your doctor that check on your mental health and emotional well-being.
Depression support is available to you anytime by dialing 988. If you’re experiencing thoughts of self-harm or violence, seek immediate help by calling 911.
A simple blood test called the A1C can check your glucose, or blood sugar, levels over the past 2 to 3 months. The A1C test can determine if you are prediabetic or have diabetes.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends seeing a dermatologist once a year to check for atypical moles or unusual changes in your skin that could indicate skin cancer.
Comprehensive Care for Every Age and Stage of Life
The best way to ensure you get your recommended screenings at the right time is to set up an annual wellness exam with your primary care provider. An annual wellness exam is a once-a-year check-in with your doctor, where they can monitor your wellness and provide screening recommendations tailored to your family history and current health status.