It’s the start of a new year, and you’re ready to become a healthier version of yourself. Fruits and vegetables are chilling in your refrigerator, an updated calorie-counter app is installed on your phone, and maybe there’s even a new gym membership card dangling from your keychain.
We support all of those efforts, especially if you’re trying to make big, positive changes.
While you’re working hard on that healthier lifestyle, don’t forget preventative screenings and doctor’s appointments; they can support your efforts and, in some cases, even become life savers. Check our list of 10 healthcare appointments to consider making this year.
A yearly visit to your primary care doctor will keep your records up to date and give you an overall wellness plan. Your doctor will likely check your blood pressure, order any screenings you may need, and answer your questions.
Annual mammograms, which check for breast cancer, are recommended for women between 45 and 54. Women 55 and older are encouraged to get a mammogram at least every two years.
This test checks for prostate cancer—one of the most common forms of cancer in men—and can help your doctor diagnose an enlarged or inflamed prostate. The screenings, which are recommended for men between the ages of 45 and 50, can be accomplished through a blood test or a simple office procedure.
This screening can detect many conditions, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulosis, colon cancer, and polyps (small growths) before they become cancerous. If polyps are discovered, your surgeon might remove them during the procedure. If you’re between 45 and 50, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor if you should schedule a colonoscopy.
Sexually Transmitted Disease Tests:
These screenings, which are recommended for sexually active people with multiple partners, can detect a variety of conditions including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Once an STD is detected, it can be treated in the early stages and before it spreads to others.
This blood test checks for low-density lipoprotein—known as bad cholesterol—which can lead to heart disease. Your doctor can tell you when it’s best to get this lab test, which is recommended for everyone.
Blood Glucose Test:
This blood test is used to determine whether your blood sugar levels are in a healthy range and, oftentimes, it’s also used to detect or monitor diabetes. You might want to consider a blood glucose test if you have risk factors for diabetes, symptoms of high blood glucose levels such as fatigue or increased thirst, or symptoms of low blood glucose levels, such as anxiety or sweating.
Bone Density Test:
This test, which uses an X-ray to measure calcium and other minerals in your bones, is used to screen for osteoporosis. Bone density tests are recommended for women over 65, men over 70, and anyone over 50 who has risk factors for bone loss.
Skin Cancer Screening:
Your dermatologist can examine your skin, including moles, birthmarks, or other pigmented areas, for evidence of skin cancer. Annual skin cancer screenings are recommended for everyone, beginning at age 20, but anyone with a family history of skin cancer might want to consider starting earlier.
The process, usually performed twice a year by a dental hygienist, removes hardened plaque, stains, and tartar from your teeth. Evidence of gum disease can also be detected during your appointment and your dentist might take an X-ray to look for cavities between your teeth.
Sure, that’s a long list, but the good news is you don’t need to schedule everything immediately. Instead, we suggest you start with your annual physical and let your primary care doctor help decide what to schedule now and what to postpone. If you don’t have a primary care doctor and want to find one, we can help. Call us at 317-462-5544 or visit HancockRegionalHospital.org. We’ll get right back to you!