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Learn About Major Medical Exams With a Timeline
Individuals should maintain relationships with their health care providers to ensure regular care and to receive timely procedures. As people age, their health care needs change. For instance, once children reach 18 years of age, they should receive blood pressure screenings about every five years, depending on their medical histories. However, some factors, such as lifestyle habits and a family history of inheritable diseases, may prompt physicians to test patients prior to scheduled exams. Additionally, gender plays a role in determining which tests need to be administered. The team at Medicaid-guide.org suggests that residents communicate any significant health changes with their physicians to enable physicians to decide when certain screenings should be performed. People should know when medical exams should be conducted in order to stay healthy.
For women 18 years of age and older, blood pressure readings should be checked every three to five years. However, physicians should increase the frequency of screenings to once per year if women’s systolic numbers are averaging between 120 and 139 and their diastolic numbers are between 80 and 89 to better monitor blood pressure. Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and kidney problems may raise the frequency of required screenings. High blood pressure may also indicate the presence of other conditions, like diabetes. The team at Medicaid-guide.org recommends that women at risk for diabetes (i.e. if their body mass index is greater than 23) should be screened. Diabetes checks consist of simple blood sugar tests.
Cholesterol screenings for women often begin between 20 and 45 years of age. Similar conditions apply to the frequency of cholesterol screenings as to blood pressure screenings. If women present with normal cholesterol levels, then the test can be repeated every five years unless they experience extreme weight gain or lifestyle changes.
Dental and eye exams should be performed regularly. The frequency of visits should be determined based on medical need, but most women must schedule dentist appointments once per year and eye exams every two years. Necessary immunizations such as tetanus vaccines should be updated and maintained every 10 years as well.
Women should do monthly self-exams to check their breasts for lumps. This helps doctors identify problems early and begin cancer screening. Clinical breast exams are also advised. Mammograms are recommended for women 40 years of age and older. However, pelvic exams and pap smears should be performed every three to five years once women is 21 years of age to check for cervical cancer.
Women Older Than 65
Senior women are susceptible to various diseases and should be checked regularly for preventable illnesses. Blood pressure and cholesterol screenings should occur annually and physicians may choose to check readings more often. Annual dental and eye exams should also be maintained.
Until women reach 75 years of age, the team at Medicaid-guide.org encourages women to receive colon cancer screenings. Tests include colonoscopies every 10 years, sigmoidoscopies every five years and stool sample collections every year. Blood present in stool samples may reveal other problems such as ulcerative colitis and polyps.
Men 18 years of age and older should visit their health care providers every three to five years to monitor their blood pressures. If physicians diagnose men with high blood pressure, then the team at Medicaid-guide.org urges those men to check their blood pressures at least once a year. Adult males should be screened for diabetes if they have high blood pressures or have body mass indexes greater than 23. Men older than 35 years of age should have their cholesterol levels checked every five years as well. However, if men have an increased risk for heart disease or diabetes, then screening should commence at 20 years of age. These risk factors may also increase the frequency for required screenings.
Adult males should visit their dentists and optometrists regularly. The frequency of visits should be determined based on medical need, but most men should schedule dentist appointments once per year and eye exams every two years. Necessary immunizations such as tetanus vaccines should be updated and maintained every 10 years as well.
Note: Although testicular checks were believed to help identify testicular cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises men to refrain from performing self-exams and does not suggest the use of regular clinical examinations.
Men Over 65
In addition to general blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, older men with a history of smoking should receive an ultrasound to check for abdominal aortic aneurysms. Men between 65 and 80 years of age should also utilize low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) technology to screen for lung cancer.
Colonoscopies and stool sample examinations should be performed every 10 and five years, respectively, to find potential colon cancer. These screenings should be conducted until 75 years of age and increase in their occurrence if men have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis or have a family history of colon cancer.
The team at Medicaid-guide.org also recommends that men older than 65 years of age take hearing tests, if symptoms of hearing loss occur, and to screen for osteoporosis – a common bone disease found in older men. For men older than 70 years of age, bone mineral density testing is advised.
Finally, men should talk to their health care providers about prostate cancer screenings. While prostate exams are not routinely ordered, men with symptoms should seek medical treatment.