Have You Had Your Health Screenings This Year?

Whether it’s your annual wellness visit or your cholesterol test, it’s important to keep up with your health screenings. They play an important role in catching small health problems before they become big ones. Add your annual exam and health screenings to your to-do list to make sure they get done. If you still need some of them before the end of the year, schedule a visit with your doctor now. Available appointments fill up as the end of the year approaches.

Have You Had Your Annual Exam?

An annual checkup includes a complete physical exam. It’s also time to talk with your doctor about your health history and any changes in health you’re noticing. You can ask about what screenings are right for you. You can also work with your doctor to set specific health goals.

These visits may include:

  • Services, like shots, that improve your health by preventing diseases and other health problems.
  • Screenings to check for things like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
  • Tests for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Education and counseling about your lifestyle, like how you handle stress, your diet and your level of activity.
What Health Screenings or Tests Do Adults Need?

Health screenings help prevent illness and catch problems early when they’re easier to treat.

Depending on your age and health history, some screenings you may need include:

  • Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) test: The HbA1c blood test is used to diagnose diabetes or prediabetes. And for those who have diabetes, it shows how well your diabetes is being managed. If it shows you have prediabetes, you can make lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes.
  • Blood pressure: You should have your blood pressure checked at every health care visit (at least once a year). High blood pressure increases your risk for serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
  • Cholesterol: A high cholesterol level puts you at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. There are no symptoms, so a blood test is the only way to know your levels. Talk to your doctor about how often you should have your cholesterol checked.
  • Colorectal cancer screening: Men and women age 45 to 75 should be screened for colon cancer. Talk to your doctor about what type of test is best for you and how often you should be screened.
  • Mammogram: Finding and treating breast cancer early is the best way to improve the chances of recovery. Since breast cancer may have no symptoms in early stages, getting regular mammograms is the best way to find it early. Talk to your doctor about when you should start getting mammograms and how often you need one.
  • Cervical cancer screening: Women ages 21 to 65 should be regularly screened for cervical cancer. Screening, including a pelvic exam, a Pap test and an HPV test, can catch problems before they become cancer or find cancer early enough to treat it. How often this screening is needed depends on your age and other risk factors.
  • Vaccinations: People of all ages need vaccines to stay healthy. Make sure you and your family are up to date on your vaccinations.
  • Comprehensive eye exam: A comprehensive eye exam, including dilation, can find diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration in their early stages. They can also check for early signs of other health issues like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Talk with your doctor about how often you need to have an eye exam.

There may be additional screenings or tests that you need. Talk to your doctor about what health screenings you need and when you need them.

Excerpt from the BCBSTX blog post, Have You Had Your Health Screenings This Year?

To learn more about screenings, view the BCBSTX blog post, Early Detection Helps Prevent Deaths from Breast Cancer.

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