At each stage of life, you need to care about different health screenings. We like to think about these as health milestones. We like to use them to help people achieve their health goals. They’re a key element in the Vera Whole Health model of whole person care.
Take ownership of your heart health with these important health milestones. Completing these will enable you to take ownership of your health for years to come.
Health screenings for women:
These are general guidelines. Be sure to talk openly with your provider to determine what’s best for you.
Typically recommended beginning at age 21. In general, these are used to detect Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. If your pap smear is negative, the next recommended test is in 3-5 years, depending on your age.
The pelvic exam is typically done in conjunction with the pap smear, and is the physical exam of the external and internal female reproductive organs. This exam checks for abnormalities in the uterus and ovaries.
There is broad agreement that all women between ages 50-75 should have a mammogram at least every other year. However, the age could be earlier depending on your personal and family history. Be sure to talk with your provider to determine when you should receive this standard breast cancer screening.
Recommended beginning at age 65, this x-ray screening checks for bone weakening and fracture risk.
Health screenings for men:
Age recommendations have recently changed for this blood test screen. For men ages 55-69, it’s recommended that patients make a decision to screen based on their risk factors and personal preference. The greatest risk factors are being of African-American race, and family history.
Health milestones for women and men, by age:
In your 20s and 30s:
- Cholesterol screening
- Blood pressure check
- Screening for sexually transmitted diseases
- Making sure you are up to date on your immunizations
- Mental health/stress screening
- Skin cancer screening
- Alcohol/tobacco use evaluation
- Cervical cancer screening for women
In your 40s:All of the above, and some at risk populations should also add screenings for:
- Diabetes screening
- Breast cancer screening
- Heart disease risk evaluation
In your 50s & older:
These milestones should include all of the screenings above, with the addition of:
- Colorectal cancer screening
- Breast cancer screening
- Prostate cancer screening (a risk assessment will determine if this is necessary)
Health milestones are a team effort
While your care team is there to keep your health milestones on track, we also encourage you to listen for any signals that your body is telling you. You may not be “due” for a health milestone, but you may have concerns that an early screening could help address. Being an advocate for your own health is crucial to your wellness.