You should make these medical appointments every year

February 15, 2022 | 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 a blood pressure check and bloodwork, 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. Make a calendar note each fall to get a flu shot. Get the COVID-19 vaccine if you haven't already.
  • 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.
  • Gastroenterologist: Colonoscopy. This important screening can detect early signs of colorectal cancer and remove polyps and tumors. Work with your PCP to identify a gastroenterologist, a doctor with special training in colonoscopies. Adults should begin regular colorectal cancer screenings at age 45-75. Adults age 76-85 should ask their doctor if they should be screened. If your colonoscopy shows no signs of cancer, you can usually wait 10 years before getting another one.

In your 50s, add:

  • Lung screening. An annual lung cancer screening low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is recommended for adults between the ages of 50 and 80 with a 20 pack-year smoking history (smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years, or two packs a day for 10 years) and currently smoke or former smokers who quit within the past 15 years.

In your 60s, add:

  • Osteoporosis screening. Women age 65 or older (and younger women at increased risk) should ask their doctor if they need a bone density scan.

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 the latest COVID-19 information, please check EEHealth.org/coronavirus.

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