An Ounce of Prevention

A majority of Americans in the prime of their lives assume there will be plenty of time in the future to worry about serious illness. For many, that time may not come. The knowledge that one of the silent killers could surface at any moment is not enough to make significant lifestyle changes or to make health screenings a habit. Illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and osteoporosis are a few examples. As individuals grow older, their bodies change and become more vulnerable to illness and disease. The best way to treat a disease is to prevent it.

For some, they don’t take a proactive look at their life until one day, if they are lucky, they get what many health professionals call a ‘teachable moment,’ a time when a person is ready to listen, to learn and to take action. Often that moment comes when your doctor gives you the scary diagnosis.

If Americans took the time to schedule routine screenings and exams, to educate themselves on risk factors associated with illnesses and, to focus on reduction of high risk factors, many illness would be significantly prevented or postponed. Please consult with your primary care physician about all screenings and immunizations. Together you and your care provider can outline a plan that is unique to you and your specific needs.

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Routine Tests for Your Health

For Men and Women:

SCREENING WHEN TO START WHY HOW OFTEN REASONS FOR EARLIER SCREENING
Wellness visit +Body Mass Index (BMI)  Annually Focus on your physical, emotional and mental health.  Annually
Blood Pressure  At minimum – annually High blood pressure is a silent killer. To protect from stroke, heart attack, and liver, kidney and eye damage. Regularly If you are overweight, have diabetes or a family history of high blood pressure have it checked often.
Skin Exam  Age 20-40 Change in appearance of moles can signal skin cancer. A rough spot or area of bleeding can also signal skin cancer.  Every 3 years, Annually after 40 Pain, itchiness or bleeding.
Colonoscopy  Age 50 Removing polyps can help prevent colon cancer.  Every 5 – 10 years Family history, bowel disease or change in bowel movements.
Osteoporosis  Age  50 Early detection can help prevent excessive bone loss.  Every 3 – 5 years Family history of osteoporosis.
Cholesterol  May begin as early at 18 Regular screenings for men over 35, and women over 45 who are at risk for heart disease.  Regular Family history or heart disease or other risk factors
Lipid Disorder  Age 35 in men; Age 45 in women Early detection of heart disease can be lifesaving.  Every 1 – 3 years Family history of coronary heart disease or those with increase risk of heart disease.
Diabetes  Age 40 – 45 Early detection can help prevent heart and kidney disease.  Every 3 years  Excessive urination, thirst or blurry vision.
Eye Examination  Age 40-45: every 2-4 years. Age 55-64: every 1-3 years  Early detection of glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts. Every two years; every year after age 65 A family history of eye disease, or diabetics should have an exam every year regardless of age.
Infectious Disease Screenings During child bearing years Sexually active individuals should be tested for HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Per the discretion of your primary care provider Risky behaviors and/or multiple partners
Thyroid Age 35 – 40 Hypo- or hyperactive thyroid can lead to health problems. At least every 3 – 5 years Weight gain or loss, dry skin, depression or hair loss.
Hearing Assessment When symptomatic

Specifically for Women:

SCREENING WHEN TO START WHY HOW OFTEN REASONS FOR EARLIER SCREENING
Mammogram Age 40 Early detection of breast cancer can be lifesaving Every 1-2 years; annually after age 50 Strong family history or if you discover a lump or discharge.
PAP Within 3 years of onset of sexual activity or age 21 Early detection of cervical cancer can be lifesaving At least every 3 years Strong family history of cervical or uterine cancer.

Specifically for Men:

SCREENING WHEN TO START WHY HOW OFTEN REASONS FOR EARLIER SCREENING
Prostate Screening (PSA) Age 50 Early detection of prostate cancer can be lifesaving annually after age 50 Family history of prostate cancer.


Immunizations

Vaccination Frequency
Infuenza annually
Tetanus, Diphtheria (Td) 1 dose; Td booster every 10 years
Pneumoccoccal PVV13 1 does given first; PVSV23 1, 2 or 3 doses if indicated
Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) 1-2 doses recommended for adults who meet the age requirement, lack documentation of vaccination, or lack evidence of past infection
Meningococcal (Meningitis) 1 or more doses if not previously immunized, depending on risk factors and other indicators; 10 or more doses depending on immunity or past vaccinations
Varicella (Chicken Pox) 2 doses 4-8 weeks apart without evidence of immunity
Herpes Zoster (Shingles) after the age of 60
HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) 3 doses if not previously immunized
Hepatitis A 2 or 3 doses if not previously immunized when requested, or at risk
Hepatitis B 3 doses if not previously immunized
Haemophilus Influenza type B 1 dose for patients with asplenia, or sickle cell anemia;  3 doses for patients with Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant History (HSCT)
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