An important way to ensure your health is at optimum levels is to get an annual physical with your primary care physician. However, most Americans tend to only visit their doctor whenever they feel ill. A physical is an opportunity for your doctor to determine potential health issues before they become significant and debilitating.
Basic adult physical schedule for generally healthy individuals include:
- Ages 19-21 – Once every two or three years
- Ages 22-64 – Once every one or three years
- Over 65 years old – Once a year
There are specific conditions, such as such as smoking regularly or diabetes, which may warrant a more frequent schedule for a physical. But whatever the circumstances may be, routine visits enables you to develop a strong relationship and history with your doctor.
Regular blood tests will determine your specific health baseline, since we are all unique individuals with various health needs. That is why it is imperative to maintain a record of your blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels in order to immediately spot any early signs of health problems. Ensure that your important vaccinations are up to date to prevent future illness as well.
If you are in good health, the following are the preventive measures necessary to remain healthy:
- After the age of 40, get cholesterol screenings every five years, as well as a screening for colorectal cancer with a colonoscopy or fecal occult blood test every ten years.
- After the age of 55, have regular lung cancer screenings if you currently smoke or stopped less than 15 years ago.
- After 60, get a shingles vaccination every year.
- After 65, get a pneumococcal vaccination.
In addition to these regular screenings, women need to get an annual breast and pelvic exam regularly. Men ages 50 and up must obtain a bone density (DEXA) scan and a prostate cancer screening. According to the Affordable Care Act, most types of health insurance will cover the entire cost of blood tests, cancer screenings, and immunizations.