Age is but a number: Health screenings through the ages

By Sarah Harper on Jul 12, 2017

If you're relatively healthy with an absence of chronic conditions, you probably rarely make an appointment with a doctor. You may not even have a primary care provider. While it’s a good sign that you aren’t constantly in and out of the hospital, you still need to see your doctor for preventative screenings.

Preventative screenings are a key component to managing your health. With regular checkups, it is easier for your doctor to find abnormalities, such as cancer, that are easier to treat in the early stages of diagnosis. Screenings also help you and your doctor identify lifestyle changes you may need

to make to avoid chronic conditions such as diabetes. But what screenings do you need and when? Follow our handy guide for better health for the rest of your life.

WELL VISIT (both genders)

Personal history, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), counseling

Ages 19-21: Annually

Ages 22-49: Every 1-3 years, depending on risk factors discussed with provider

Ages 50-65+: Annually

BLOOD PRESSURE (both genders)

At a minimum once every 2 years for blood pressure less than 120/80 mm Hg. Every year for systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89 mm Hg

HEARING SCREENING (both genders)

Unnecessary if asymptomatic

VISION SCREENING (both genders)

Ages 19-39: Unnecessary if asymptomatic

Age 40: baseline comprehensive eye exam, then at discretion of provider

Ages 65+: every 1-2 years

CANCER SCREENINGS (both genders)

Colorectal (both genders)

Ages 19-49: Not routine, except for high-risk patients

Age 50: Colonoscopy and then every 10 years; or annual fecal occult blood test (FOBT) plus sigmoidoscopy every 5 years; or sigmoidoscopy every 5 years

Skin (both genders)

Ages 19-26: Periodic skin exams every 3 years

Ages 27-65+: Annual total skin exam at discretion of provider

Breast (women)

Ages 19-65+: Annual clinical breast exam; mammogram if high-risk

Ages 50-74: Mammogram every 2 years

Ages 75+: Discuss with provider benefits and limitations

Cervical (women)

Ages 21-65: Cytology (pap smear) every 3 years or

Ages 30-65: Cytology with HPV every 5 years

Testicular And Prostate (men)

Ages 19-45: Annual clinical testicular exam

Ages 45-50: Informed decision making with provider regarding Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) screening depending on risk