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This year make appointments, not excuses

Preventing a disease is easier than trying to manage or cure it. Yet we tend to make excuses instead of appointments when it comes to taking care of our health. This year resolve to make medical tests and screenings routine for the rest of your life so you can have a healthier, more enjoyable future.

General Tests and Screenings for Men and Women

  • Cholesterol - if you smoke, have diabetes or high blood pressure, or if heart disease runs in your family, begin testing prior to age 35 for men and 45 for women. Starting at 35 (45), screen annually.
  • Blood Pressure - at least every 2 years; more frequently if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.
  • Colorectal ( colon) cancer - prior to age 50 if you have a family member who's had colorectal cancer.
  • Depression - if you've felt "down," sad, or hopeless over the last 2 or more weeks or felt little interest or pleasure in doing things.
  • Diabetes - if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol or a family history.
  • Obesity - check Body Mass Index, a measure of body fat. To calculate it yourself, click here.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV - if you're sexually active, consult with your doctor about these screenings. Pregnant women should be screened at any age.

Special Tests and Screenings for Men Age 50+

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - if you're between 65 and 75 and have smoked 100 or more cigarettes during your lifetime, you should be screened once.
  • Prostate Cancer - for men at average risk and who have a minimum 10-year life expectancy.

Tests and Screenings for Women Under Age 50

  • Breast Cancer - a mammogram every 1 to 2 years starting at age 40.
  • Cervical Cancer - a Pap smear every 1 to 3 years from age 21 through 65 (if you've ever been sexually active).
  • Osteoporosis - if you're at risk. Otherwise begin screening at 65.

Annual Tests and Screenings for Women Age 50+

  • Breast Cancer

  • Cervical Cancer

  • Osteoporosis-beginning at age 65

Your personal or family health history may require more frequent screenings: check with your healthcare provider. For a Screening Test Checklist that helps you track and schedule your tests visit men and women.

For information about screening for different types of cancer visit The American Cancer Society

Remember to schedule annual vision tests and twice yearly dental checkups, too!

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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