Screenings

It is essential to see your health care provider regularly even if you feel healthy. Most people who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol don’t know it. Because symptoms may not be evident until a disease is in advanced stages, regular physical exams and screenings are the best way to discover if you have any problems.

The following outlines key recommended screenings for adults. This is a summary, not a complete list, and does not constitute medical advice. If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely. Please consult with your healthcare provider for all the recommended screenings for your gender, age and lifestyle.

Click on your gender and age group to find the screenings list relevant to you.

 

WOMEN 18-39

Blood Pressure Screening
Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years unless it is 120-139/80-89 Hg or higher. Then have it checked every year. If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.

Cholesterol Screening
Between age 20 and 45, you should be screened if you have a higher risk for heart disease or know that you have diabetes, kidney problems, or certain other conditions.

Diabetes Screening
If your blood pressure is above 135/80, your health care provider will test your blood sugar levels for diabetes.

Breast Self Exam

  • Perform a monthly breast self-exam.
  • Contact your health care provider immediately if you notice a change in your breasts, whether or not you do breast self-exams.
  • Get a complete breast exam from a health care provider every 3 years (recommended for women ages 20-40).

Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear

  • Screenings should start within 3 years after first having vaginal intercourse or by age 21.
  • Beginning at age 21, have a pelvic exam and Pap smear every 2 years to check for cervical cancer.
  • If you are over age 30 or your Pap smears have been negative three times in a row, your doctor or nurse may tell you that you only need a Pap smear every 3 years.
  • If you have had a total hysterectomy (uterus and cervix removed), you may choose not to have Pap smears.
  • When you are sexually active, you should be screened for chlamydia infection. This can be done during a pelvic exam.
  • Ask your provider to tell you how to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if you are sexually active.

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WOMEN 40-64

Blood Pressure Screening
Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years unless it is 120-139/80-89 Hg or higher. Then have it checked every year. If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.

Cholesterol Screening
When you are 45 or older, your cholesterol should be checked every 5 years. If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.

Diabetes Screening
If your blood pressure is above 135/80, your health care provider will test your blood sugar levels for diabetes.

Colon Cancer Screening
Between the ages of 50 and 75, you should be screened for colorectal cancer.

Breast Exams

  • Perform a monthly breast self-exam.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if you notice a change in your breasts, whether or not you do self exams.
  • Get a complete breast exam from a health care provider every year.

Mammograms
If you’re over the age of 40, have a mammogram done every 1-2 years, depending on your risk factors, to check for breast cancer.

Osteoporosis Screening
If you’re a postmenopausal woman with fractures, have a bone density test (DEXA scan). If you’re under age 65 and have risk factors for osteoporosis, get screened.

Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear

  • Have a Pap smear once every 2-3 years.
  • Pelvic exams should be done more often to check for other disorders.
  • If your Pap smears have been normal three times in a row, your doctor may tell you that you only need a Pap smear once every 3 years.
  • If you have had a total hysterectomy (uterus and cervix removed), you may choose not to have Pap smears.
  • If you are sexually active, you should be screened for chlamydia infection. This can be done during a pelvic exam.
  • Your health care provider will discuss how to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) with you if you are sexually active.
  • Your health care provider will ask you questions about alcohol and tobacco, and may ask you about depression.

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MEN 18-39

Blood Pressure Screening
Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years unless it is 120-139/80-89 Hg or higher. Then have it checked every year. If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.

Cholesterol Screening and Heart Disease Prevention

  • If you are over the age of 34, get checked every 5 years.
  • If you have risk factors for heart disease, start getting screened earlier, at age 20.
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.

Diabetes Screening
If your blood pressure is above 135/80, your health care provider will test your blood sugar levels for diabetes.

Infectious Disease Screening
Depending on your lifestyle and medical history, you may need to be screened for infections such syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV, as well as other infectious diseases.

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MEN 40-64

Blood Pressure Screening
Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years unless it is 120-139/80-89 Hg or higher. Then have it checked every year. If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.

Cholesterol Screening and Heart Disease Prevention

  • If you are over age 34, get checked every 5 years.
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.
  • Some men should consider taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks.

Colon Cancer Screening
If you are between ages 50 and 75, get screened for colorectal cancer.

Diabetes Screening
If your blood pressure is above 135/80, your health care provider will test your blood sugar levels for diabetes.

Osteoporosis Screening
If you are age 50 to 70 with risk factors for osteoporosis, discuss this screening with your doctor.

Prostate Cancer Screening
When you are 50, discuss this screening for prostate cancer with your health care provider. African-American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer should discuss getting the screening at age 45.

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Sources

 

More Resources
Here are a few other helpful resources for determining your risk factors and learning how to achieve a healthier lifestyle: