How Often Should You Get a Physical?

Many Dallas-Fort Worth adults believe that an annual physical is necessary for good health. Although there is no hard and fast rule about this, getting checked out every one to three years is perfectly okay unless you’re age 65 or older, have risk factors or suffer from a chronic health condition. In that case, you should get a checkup every year.

Why Do I Need an Exam If I’m in Good Health?

Regular visits build a relationship with your doctor. It’s good to establish a baseline for blood pressure, blood counts, glucose and cholesterol levels. Having a baseline helps your doctor to spot deviations from your unique profile that could impact your overall health.

Basic Prevention Practices for Everyone

Regardless of age, you should take certain steps to minimize health risks. These include annual flu shots, blood pressure checks every two years and ensuring that all vaccinations including tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis, chicken pox, meningitis and measles/mumps/rubella are up to date. If you have questions or concerns about your health, be sure to discuss them with your doctor. You should also schedule a visit if you want to quit smoking or lose weight. Your doctor can suggest effective and clinically-tested strategies to accomplish these goals in a healthy way.

Screenings After Age 40

If you’re 40 or over, you should schedule a cholesterol screening every five years and a colorectal cancer screening with a fecal occult blood test every year or a colonoscopy every 10 years.

Screenings After Age 50

Smokers or those who have quit less than 15 years ago should schedule regular lung cancer screenings. After you reach age 60, schedule annual shingles vaccinations, and after age 65, schedule a pneumococcal vaccination.

Screenings for Women

Adult women should receive annual gynecological exams. After age 18, women should receive an HPV vaccination and pap smears for cervical cancer every three years. After age 30, women can get pap smears every five years. Ask your doctor if you need to schedule regular mammograms. After age 50, women should receive annual mammograms until they reach 75, a scan for bone density and pap smears every five years until age 70. Your doctor might revise that schedule after a hysterectomy or after you’ve been through menopause.

Screenings for Men

Men can continue general wellness activities without special screenings until age 50. Getting regular health checks during this time can help your doctor establish baseline measurements that can be helpful for comparison purposes later. For men over age 50, your doctor might recommend a bone density scan or suggest a prostate cancer screening. After age 65, smokers and former smokers should get an ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Most insurance companies cover routine examinations and preventive screenings. If you haven’t seen your doctor for a checkup lately, schedule a visit to Integra Urgent Care. A little bit of prevention can save you a whole lot of cure.


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