Taking steps to maintain your health today will help improve your quality of life tomorrow. One way to stay on top of your health is to make sure you receive the appropriate preventive care and screenings. These tests are crucial for early detection of disease, which can lead to more effective treatment.
The following recommendations are based on standardized guidelines. Your needs may differ based on your health history and current health. Talk to your primary care physician to learn what types of preventive care and screenings you need to receive for continued health.
- Annual Wellness Visit – A yearly checkup with your primary care physician or gynecologist is recommended to maintain your health. During the visit, you’ll meet with your physician to discuss your plan for managing and improving your health during the upcoming year. Basic measurements will also be taken, such as height, weight and blood pressure. Your doctor may order a fasting blood sugar test, lipid panel and complete blood count screening for early detection of diabetes, high cholesterol or blood disorders.
- Pap Test – A Pap Test, also called a Pap Smear, is used to screen for cervical cancer. It’s recommended that women ages 21-65 get a Pap test every 24 months, or as recommended by your doctor depending on your risk factors. Those at a higher risk for cancer should get tested every 12 months.
- Breast Exam – This exam is typically done by your primary care physician or gynecologist during an annual wellness visit. During the exam, your doctor will check for lumps, physical changes or any other abnormalities. It’s recommended that women ages 40 and older get a breast exam every 24 months, but your doctor will determine your individual needs.
- Screening Mammogram – Results from this test can be used to detect breast cancer during its earliest stages. X-ray imaging makes it possible to find tumors that can’t be felt as well as tiny deposits of calcium that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer. It’s recommended that women ages 40 and older get a mammogram every 12 months.
- Colonoscopy – With a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope, your doctor can look at your colon and detect inflammation, ulcers, polyps and tumors. It’s recommended most women ages 50 and older get a colonoscopy every 10 years. Those at a high risk for colorectal cancer should get screened every 24 months.
- Diabetes Screening – To detect diabetes, your doctor may perform a fasting blood glucose test. It’s a quick test that measures your blood sugar levels after 8 hours of fasting. All women should get screened every 12 months. Depending on results, your physician may need to screen your blood sugar more frequently.
- Bone Mass Measurement – This test is used to help measure the density of your bones and how likely they are to break. It’s recommended women get screened every 24 to 36 months depending on your health history and doctor recommendations.
In most cases, preventive care and screenings are covered by health insurance as long as you haven’t yet been diagnosed with a specific disease or condition. If diagnosed with a specific condition, tests are still covered after meeting the applicable deductibles and copayments. If you’re not sure what’s covered, talk to your health insurance provider.