You should make these medical appointments every year

September 08, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

If you’re a generally healthy adult, you probably don’t give a lot of thought to seeing a doctor unless you get hurt or drastically sick.

Most healthy adults don’t need a lot of medical attention. But there are some things you should keep tabs on, even if you aren’t sick.

Making these medical appointments each year will help keep your health on track as you age because doctors can address budding health concerns before they become big issues.

In your 20s and 30s:

  • Primary care physician (PCP). Get an annual checkup, including blood work, from an internal medicine physician or a family medicine physician. Your doctor will know if you are due for any vaccinations, including a tetanus booster or chickenpox vaccine (which you may need if you never got the MMR shot as a child). Make a calendar note each fall to get a flu shot.
  • Women: Gynecologist. Your annual exam should include a Pap test, HPV test, pelvic exam, clinical breast exam, and, if you have a new sex partner, screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you have more than one sexual partner, it might make sense to have a Pap test and STI test every six months.
  • Dermatologist. Make an annual appointment for a full-body skin check, especially if you're fair-skinned or have a family history of skin cancer.
  • Eye doctor. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adults with healthy vision should have a complete exam by an ophthalmologist once in their 20s, twice in their 30s, and then get a complete eye examination at age 40.
  • Dentist. The American Dental Association recommends dental cleanings/check-ups once or twice a year.

In your 40s, add:

  • Women: Mammogram. This annual screening can detect breast cancer in its early stages when it’s most treatable. Ask your gynecologist whether you have dense breasts and should get a 3D mammogram.
  • Men: Annual rectal exam/PSA blood test from your primary care doctor to screen for prostate cancer.

In your 50s (or earlier if you have risk factors), add:

  • Colonoscopy. This important screening can detect early signs of colorectal cancer and remove polyps and tumors. Work with your PCP to identify a gastroenterologist. Gastroenterologists receive special training in colonoscopies and perform more of these procedures than any other specialty. If your colonoscopy shows no signs of cancer, you can usually wait 10 years before getting another one.
  • Lung screening. A lung CT scan is recommended every year for smokers, former smokers (who quit in the last 15 years) or other high-risk individuals, from ages 55 to 80.
    If you have a family history of certain diseases or other risk factors, you may need to have earlier or more frequent appointments and screenings. Ask your PCP what appointments to add to your wellness routine.

Schedule your physician appointments or lab tests online or through the MyEEHealthTM mobile app.

We’re offering Video Visits for the care you need today, from the comfort of home. Learn more about Video Visits.

For updates on our planning and response efforts as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, please check


6 ways to protect your memory health

For a lot of us, hitting age 50 gets us thinking about our overall health — and our memory is part of that. As we age,...

Read More

HDLife agingwellcrop

8 tips to age well

Thanks to smarter health choices, better nutrition and more access to healthcare, people are living longer. The good...

Read More


Lonely, isolated older adults face associated health risks

As we get older, many of us are alone more often. This lack of connection leaves us vulnerable.

Read More