Welcome to the New Year! Making and keeping a resolution can be daunting as unfortunately, many fail within the first few weeks of January because old habits are hard to break.
This year, choose a resolution that is easily attainable and also important for your health, by reviewing important examinations. In fact, some of these suggestions you may have already done and can easily check off your to-do list.
1. Are you due for a physical exam?
Do you need a Pap smear? Do you need a breast exam? Thankfully this can often be achieved in the same visit as your health care provider can check you out from head-to-toe, and collect cells to screen you for cervical cancer.
Insurance companies are changing and often allow a full well-woman exam without having to meet the deductible. Depending on your health status, you may not need a Pap every year, but having a physical is a good idea to touch base with your provider.
2. Are you due for your mammogram?
Current guidelines suggest that women should start with a screening mammogram every other year starting at 40 years old, then yearly at 50 years old. This may change depending on personal or family history.
3. Are you due for your colonoscopy?
This important test evaluates the health of your colon and screens for colon cancer. Typically, men and women should have their initial screening at 50 years old.
However certain gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, blood or mucus in the stool, black stools, inflammatory bowel disease or ongoing irritable bowel type symptoms may require a screening at an earlier age. Those with a family history of colon cancer often start at an earlier age as well.
4. Have you seen your dentist in the last six months?
Routine dental examinations are important not only for teeth and gum health, but also the health of the entire body, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The dentist can be a scary place for a lot of adults, however it is important to remember that you probably look better and feel healthier with your teeth than without.
5. Have you had an eye exam?
Not only can eye doctors assess for vision changes, they can also evaluate the blood vessels, glaucoma, cataracts, cholesterol deposits, diabetes damage. And they can check for potential tumors.
This reminder about some of these exams may have you quickly making an appointment while others may be too early for you, depending on your age and symptoms.
If you are unsure, talk with your health care provider about which ones would be most appropriate for your health.
Start out 2013 on the right foot and focus on staying healthy.
1. National Cancer Institute: Mammograms. Web. 6 January, 2013.
2. National Cancer Institute: Test to Detect Colorectal Cancer and Polyps. Web. 6 January 2013.
3. Dental Screenings Linked to Lower Heart Disease, Stroke Risk. Web. 6 January, 2013.
Reviewed January 6, 2013
by MIchele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith