Many people visit their doctor only when they feel sick. Still, you should start every year by getting a routine medical checkup. Mainly if you are an older adult.

During this yearly visit, your primary care doctor will tell you which preventive tests and laboratory analysis you should get based on the following:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Current conditions

This will help them make a diagnosis in time to avoid complications.

First, the doctor will do an annual health risk assessment. This is also known by its acronym, HRA. The HRA is a full evaluation that helps your doctor know your risks for different health conditions and handle them right away. 

The doctor will ask you a series of questions about your life and will order preventive tests and screenings, such as:

PHYSICAL EXAM

  • Blood pressure

LABORATORY TESTS

  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes analysis
  • Glycosylated hemoglobin
  • Urine test
  • Tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

SCREENING TESTS

  • Bone density (densitometry)
  • Colorectal cancer, lung cancer

– If you are a woman: Papanicolaou test and mammogram

– If you are a man: Prostate cancer

Which Other Preventive Steps Should I Take?

VISIT YOUR OPHTHALMOLOGIST (EYE DOCTOR)

  • Eye exam and if you are diabetic the pupil dilation test

VISIT YOUR DENTIST

  • At least twice a year, for cleaning and preventive care

VISIT YOUR NUTRITIONIST

  • For nutrition counseling and obesity screening

KEEP YOUR IMMUNIZATIONS UP TO DATE

  • Pneumonia, COVID-19, and influenza. This is the peak season!

The two examples below give you a clearer idea of why prevention is important to stay healthy:

1) If all people aged 50 and older were screened for colorectal cancer, up to 60% of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented.

2) Uncontrolled diabetes is the main cause for your kidneys to stop working.  But if you are diabetic getting glycosylated hemoglobin (A1c) tests as a routine will let you know if you’ve kept your condition under control over the past three months. This information can help you make changes to keep your kidneys and eyes healthy and to avoid amputations.

Now you know.  Start the year by getting your routine medical checkup and get on the path to better health.

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