Health Advocate Blog

Make time for preventive care

You may be in the throes of enjoying summertime activities that help you stay healthy and thriving—but don’t forget to stay on top of your preventive screening tests! Getting your preventive screening tests is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Screenings can help find diseases early, when they may be easiest to treat and before you have symptoms. Talk to your doctor about whether—and when—you should get these common screening tests based on your age, health history, genetics and other personal risk factors.

Physical exam. Allows you and your doctor to assess your overall health, keep tabs on conditions you may have, and ensure you’re up-to-date on age-appropriate and risk-based screenings and immunizations.

Blood pressure. Regular checks are the only way to tell if your blood pressure is out of the target range. High levels increase the risk for heart disease and stroke. Blood pressure checks should be done at every visit to your healthcare providers.

Cholesterol. This blood test measures the cholesterol (type of fat) in your blood. High levels may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Glucose (diabetes screening). A blood test that measures the amount of glucose (blood sugar) in your blood. High levels may increase the risk of diabetes.

Colonoscopy. During this test, a thin-lighted scope helps find polyps in the colon that may become cancerous. If polyps are removed, cancer can be prevented.

Mammogram. A low-dose X-ray of the breasts may detect early breast cancer and some conditions that can lead to breast cancer.

Prostate screening. There are two types of tests most commonly used to screen for prostate cancer. A prostate specific antigen test (PSA) measures the level of PSA–created by the prostate–in the blood, while a digital rectal exam (DRE) examines the size and shape of the prostate.

Cervical cancer screening (Pap smear) with/without HPV testing. This is a test that collects cells from the cervix to look for changes and/or the human papillomavirus (HPV, the most common STD infection) that may lead to cervical cancer.

Skin cancer screening. A doctor will perform a full-body skin exam looking for moles, birthmarks, or other pigmented areas that look abnormal in color, size, shape, or texture. If your doctor notices something abnormal, they may recommend a biopsy of the area in question.

Dental cleaning. Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and exam to maintain oral health and resolve any issues before they get out of hand.

Vision/eye exam. Regular eye exams are an important part of maintaining good health. They help to assess and monitor your vision as well as your risk for eye diseases.

Keep a pulse on your health! Follow up with your doctor today to discuss what screenings are right for you.