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Do I Need an Annual Exam?

Categories: General Health

The two pillars of good health are taking care of oneself with healthy lifestyle choices and undergoing appropriate screening exams. Heart disease and cancer are the two most formidable causes of illness in Americans, with respiratory infections and diabetes rounding out the top causes of death. Keep in mind that the vast majority of health issues can be prevented by lifestyle changes alone, as well as by controlling underlying risk factors that are uncovered during routine screenings. So how can you take control of your risk? One of the most important ways is by undergoing routine screening tests that are recommended for your age group, or based on other unique risk factors. Below are the recommended screenings by category.

Vitals

  • Blood pressure
  • Body mass index or waist circumference

Bloodwork

  • Cholesterol at age 35 (men), 45 (women), or earlier if risk factors are present
  • Diabetes screening if obese or other risk factors are present
  • Hepatitis C one-time screening (only for people born between 1945-1965)

Cancer

  • Pap smear every 2-3 years for women over age 21, with HPV testing for women over age 30
  • Testicular cancer examination for men under age 35
  • Mammogram starting at age 40-50 for women, as recommended by your doctor based on your history and preference
  • Prostate cancer - discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of screening for men age 50 and above, earlier if risk factors are present
  • Colon cancer screening starting at age 50, earlier if certain family history exists
  • Lung cancer screening if risk factors are present

Immunizations

  • HPV vaccine series for adults age 18-26
  • Flu shot annually
  • Pneumonia vaccine after age 65, or earlier if certain chronic conditions exist
  • Pertussis one-time booster for all adults
  • Shingles vaccine for ages 50+

Other

  • Bone density test at age 65 (women) or earlier if risk factors are present
  • Cardiovascular stress test if your 10-year risk is elevated
Additionally, here are some helpful tips to maintain good health:
  • Get moving every day
  • Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, fiber and whole grains
  • Ensure a well-balanced diet, and if you have any dietary restrictions, consider appropriate supplements
  • Achieve an optimal weight for you and reduce your daily caloric intake if you need to lose weight (weight may be more accurately measured by your waist circumference rather than the scale)
  • Stay up to date on immunizations
  • Get enough sleep
  • Find ways to relax and unwind to manage stress
  • Check in regularly with your doctor
  • Keep your loved ones near and dear

Remember, you are in control of much of your health – take the necessary steps and be proactive. Best wishes for good health!

Meet the Author

Aditi (Asha) Springstubb, MD

Specialty: Internal Medicine
Areas of Interest: Women's Health and Healthy Living

Dr. Springstubb a devotee of lifelong learning, Dr. Springstubb studied molecular biology at Pomona College, received her medical degree from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and completed her residency at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She is excited that her seven years of practice have brought her to Hoag Medical Group. A strong believer in a balanced lifestyle, Dr. Springstubb enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, exploring fitness trends, and experimenting in the kitchen. She is fluent in Spanish and Hindi and accepting new patients. View Bio [+]