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Adult health screenings

Recommendations for adult health screenings

Having regular health screenings is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, because finding problems when they're small is the best way to prevent more serious medical issues down the road.

Which screenings to have when? That depends on your age, gender and any possible risk factors. These are guidelines for healthy people with few risk factors. Check with your doctor about how the screening schedule should be personalized for you.

All adults

Blood pressure: every 2 years, for prevention of heart disease and stroke

Fasting blood test for cholesterol: every 5 years beginning at age 35 for men and age 45 for women for prevention of heart disease and stroke

Colorectal cancer screening: Screening for colorectal cancer should begin at age 50. African Americans should begin screening at age 45. A colonoscopy can actually prevent cancer. Learn more

Dental checkup: Every 6 to 12 months

Fasting blood glucose: Every 3 years for adults over age 45 for diabetes prevention

Glaucoma: To prevent blindness, African-Americans should be screened after 40, because the incidence of glaucoma in this population is much higher. Other adults should be screened age 65 and older, or yearly if you are severely near-sighted, diabetic or have a family history of glaucoma.

Vision exam: every 2 to 4 years, even if you don't need vision correction; yearly after age 65

Just for women

Mammogram: Every year beginning at age 40. Learn more.

Pap smear/HPV test: Start cervical cancer screening at age 21. Learn more.

Bone density test: Every 5 years beginning at age 50 for prevention of osteoporosis 

Just for men

Prostate screening: The PSA blood test is the most common screening tool for prostate cancer, but a high level of PSA can also be caused by other conditions such as urinary infection. Talk with your primary care physician about the risks and benefits of prostate screening.