We all know it’s important to keep up with annual physicals and medical screenings to catch any health issues early on. Often, early detection save lives. Due to COVID-19, many of us have postponed getting these crucial checkups. Don’t delay any longer – schedule those appointments!
During an annual physical exam, your doctor will most likely order blood work to check for, among other things, glucose, cholesterol, iron, and vitamin D levels. Blood pressure, pulse rate, weight and other vital statistics will also be assessed.
During these visits, your doctor may also refer you for medical screenings that are age, sex, and risk appropriate. Here is a list of the more common ones:
Colonoscopy – If you’re 50 or older and at an average risk of colon cancer, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years (or sometimes more often) to screen for colon cancer.
Mammogram – At age 40, many women begin having mammograms to check for breast cancer, and then have them every one to two years. Professional groups differ on their age and frequency recommendations, so speak with your doctor to see what he or she recommends for you.
Prostate cancer screening – Men in their 50s should discuss the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening with their doctors. This discussion should include a review of your risk factors and any preferences about screening.
Total body skin exams – Yearly or more often depending on risk factors for skin cancer. Can begin as early as the teenage years.
Osteoporosis screening – Women are usually at higher risk for osteoporosis and will be screened more regularly. A baseline is usually taken at 65 years old.
Don’t let COVID-19 put you at risk for other health issues. Speak with your doctor and find out what screenings you may need right now, and then go ahead and get them. Just because you’re not experiencing any signs or symptoms of an illness or disease, doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Stay on top of your health, stay safe, and do whatever’s necessary to live a long and healthy life.
Contributing Author: Susan Baldani, a life member of the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad.