General Health

Making time to visit your doctor regularly can help you avoid problems before they arise.

It's also a good idea to assess your personal risks by investigating your family medical history. Finding out whether diabetes, heart disease, or osteoporosis runs in your family can help you determine the types and frequency of necessary screening tests and how you should modify your diet, exercise routine, and other lifestyle habits, in order to lower your risk of developing that disease.

 

Checkups

You'll want to select a doctor who will be proactive about your health, helping you take steps to prevent problems or catch them early, rather than simply treating conditions when they arise. So it's wise to schedule regular checkups and make sure you get the appropriate immunizations and screening tests at the right times. These include regular weight checks, blood pressure readings at least every two years, and a complete blood lipid panel at least every five years.

In addition, you should have the following tests:

  • A fasting blood sugar test every three years after age 45

  • Regular screenings for colon and rectal cancers, beginning at age 50

  • Regular skin exams to look for signs of skin cancer

  • An eye exam every three to five years

  • Dental check-ups twice a year

 

Your doctor may alter the timetable for some of the above exams, depending on your family history.

Meanwhile, other screenings are gender-specific. These include:

 

*For men: Screening for prostate cancer (with a PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, test) beginning at age 50.

 

*For women: Screening for breast cancer (with a mammogram) every year or two, beginning at age 40; annual pelvic exams and a Pap test at least every two to three years; regular thyroid tests after age 45; and a bone density test after menopause.

 

Click here to see general health resources available to caregivers.