All adults should visit their health care provider from time to time, even if they are healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:
Screen for diseases
Assess risk of future medical problems
Encourage a healthy lifestyle
Maintain a relationship with a doctor or nurse in case of an illness
Health maintenance visit - women - over 65; Physical exam - women - over 65; Yearly exam - women - over 65; Checkup - women - over 65; Women's health - over 65
Even if you feel fine, it is still important to see your health care provider regularly to check for potential problems. Most people who have high blood pressure don't even know it. The only way to find out is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood sugar and high cholesterol levels often do not produce any symptoms until the disease becomes advanced.
There are specific times when you should see your health care provider. Age-specific guidelines are as follows:
Blood pressure screening:
Have your blood pressure checked every year.
If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be watched more closely.
If your cholesterol level is normal, have it rechecked every 3-5 years.
If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.
Colon cancer screening: Until age 75, one of the following screening tests should be done:
Go to the dentist every year for an exam and cleaning.
If your blood pressure is above 135/80, your health care provider will test your blood sugar levels for diabetes.
Note: Patients with risk factors for colon cancer, including ulcerative colitis, a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, or a history of large colorectal adenomas may need a colonoscopy more often.
Have an eye exam every 2 years.
Make sure your health care provider checks for glaucoma.
Have your hearing tested every year.
If you are over age 65, get a pneumococcal vaccine if you have never had before, or if you received one more than 5 years before you turned 65.
After age 65, most women can stop having Pap smears as long as they have had three negative tests within the past 10 years.
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American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Cervical cytology screening. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 109. Obstet Gynecol.2009; 114:1409-1420.
Smith RA, Cokkinides V, Brawley OW. Cancer screening in theUnited States, 2012. A Review of Current American Cancer Society Guidelines and Issues in Cancer Screening. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012;62:129-142.
Mosca L, Benjamin EJ, Berra K, Bezanson JL, Dolor RJ,Lloyd-Jones DM, et al. Effectiveness-based guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women--2011 update: A guideline from the AmericanHeart Association. Circulation; 2011;123(11):1243-1262.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended adult immunization schedule -- United States, 2012. MMWR.2012;61(4):1=7.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.