Health screenings are valuable tools that can detect serious illnesses at early stages. Generally, the treatment for early-stage conditions is faster, more effective and cheaper compared to the treatment needed at later stages. By choosing to take part in these recommended exams, you could save money on healthcare costs and health insurance as well. The screenings below are some of the most highly recommended exams that you may wish to consider.
Blood Glucose Screening (Age 45)
The prevalence of diabetes in the United States has drastically increased since the 1950s, and an estimated 25 percent of individuals with the condition do not know that they have it. Doctors recommend that everyone age 45 and above have a blood glucose test performed every three years. The screening involves a simple blood test, and patients might be asked to fast for a few hours before. If diabetes is diagnosed, it can generally be controlled very well with a combination of diet, exercise, and medication.
Colonoscopy (Age 50)
The colonoscopy is a screening test for colon cancer, and it can also identify precancerous polyps and other colon issues such as diverticulitis. Experts suggest that everyone have a colonoscopy once every decade. Patients at average risk normally begin screening at age 50. If everyone had this screening on schedule, an estimated 3/5 of colorectal cancer deaths could have been avoided. To prepare for the colonoscopy, patients take a laxative solution during the 24 hours prior to the procedure. Many individuals describe this as the most unpleasant part. On the day of the colonoscopy, patients are normally given a sedative that allows them to sleep through the procedure; there is no pain involved. If the surgeon finds any precancerous polyps or other lesions, most of these can be removed during the colonoscopy. Patients who are at a high risk of colon cancer should speak to their doctor about when to begin screening.
Blood Pressure Check (Every Age)
High blood pressure affects one in three Americans, and the condition increases a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease and strokes. Since high blood pressure is now being frequently diagnosed in children, doctors advocate that individuals of all ages have a blood pressure screening performed by a healthcare professional at least once a year. This painless test takes just seconds to complete, and any issues with blood pressure can be controlled with lifestyle modifications and medications.
Mammogram (age 40)
More than one in eight women will experience breast cancer at some point during their lives. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that women at average risk have an annual mammogram beginning at the age of 40. This test is an x-ray of the breasts, and it can identify very early changes in breast tissue that could be indicative of cancer. Newer mammography machines have made the screening process faster and more comfortable. Individuals who have a family history of breast cancer may need to begin screening earlier than age 40, and they should have a conversation with their doctor about this.
It’s important as you get older to take steps to make sure that you are healthy so that you can live a more fulfilling life. Having regular health screenings helps you take a proactive approach to your overall well-being. Your doctor can help you learn more about which screenings are most appropriate for you.