When Should You Get Regular Health Screenings? Is It Deadly If You Don’t?

Many people only visit their doctor when something is wrong and needs to be fixed. But you should also consider the value of doctor visits for preventive care.

Preventive care means preventing illness or detecting health issues early on before they become more serious. This can include regular checkups, screenings, and vaccinations. By prioritizing preventive care, you can take proactive steps to maintain your health and potentially prevent serious health problems from developing. 

Regular visits to the doctor for preventive care can also help you build a relationship with your healthcare provider, allowing them to get to know you and your health history. This can be especially helpful if you do become sick, as your healthcare provider will have a better understanding of your overall health and can provide more targeted treatment. 

What Are Health Screenings?

Health screenings are tests that help your healthcare provider identify potential health problems early on. 

Routine checkups create an opportunity to catch issues as soon as possible so that you and your healthcare provider can take steps to manage or treat them before they become more serious.

Types of Health Screenings

There are many different types of health screenings available, including:

●     Blood pressure screenings: These tests measure the force of blood flowing through your arteries. Depending on your risk factors and current status, this may need to be monitored closely. Your doctor might even recommend using an at-home device if you are in a high-risk situation.

●     Cholesterol screenings: These tests measure the levels of cholesterol in your blood. High cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. People at risk for heart disease should get their cholesterol checked every year. Other adults may only need to be checked every few years.

●     Diabetes screenings: These tests check for high blood sugar levels, which can be a sign of diabetes. Diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. Screenings are generally done every 3 years starting around age 45. But some individuals may need more frequent checkups at an earlier age.

●     Sexual health screenings: These tests check for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other sexual health issues. Screenings should generally be done at least once per year. People who engage in higher-risk behaviors may need more frequent testing.

●     Cancer screenings: There are a few types of cancer that don’t present with many symptoms until they have already developed to an advanced stage. These screenings can help detect cancer at an early stage, when it is most treatable.

Types of Cancer Screenings

Cancer screenings are tests that are performed to identify potential cancer in individuals who may not have any symptoms yet. 

There are various types of cancer screenings available, including:

●     Mammograms: Mammograms are X-ray images of the breasts that are used to detect breast cancer. These are typically recommended as a yearly test for women over the age of 40.

●     Pap smears: Pap smears are tests that are used to detect abnormal cells in the cervix, which can be a sign of cervical cancer. These are typically recommended for women starting at age 21 and every three years thereafter.

●     Prostate exams: Prostate exams are tests that are used to detect prostate cancer in men. These exams may include a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Prostate exams are typically recommended for men starting at age 45.

●     Colonoscopies: Colonoscopies are tests that are used to detect colon cancer or polyps in the colon. These exams involve inserting a flexible tube with a camera into the rectum to examine the inside of the colon. Colonoscopies are typically recommended for adults starting at age 45 and every 10 years thereafter.

It’s important to note that these are general recommendations, and individuals should consult with their healthcare provider to determine the best screening schedule for their specific needs.

In addition to these cancer screenings, there are also other types of screenings available for other types of cancer, such as skin cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer. Discussing your risk factors and screening options with a healthcare provider is important.