The new year is almost upon us. Many of us still do the New Year’s resolution bit. The recreation centers are pretty crowded in January as we try to get in that extra exercise we promised to do. However, by mid-February, those rec centers are back to their baseline enthusiasts.
So, how about a different resolution this year? Let’s promise to get in that preventative health screening that is recommended. The list of preventative tests and vaccines varies by age but can be found at the CDC website, www.cdc.gov.
I am frequently asked, “How often should I go to my doctor?”
While there are few guidelines to go by, I use this rule of thumb:
If you are over 50, the answer is: once per year. This age group needs to hear about the importance of mammograms, colorectal screening, cholesterol testing, PAP tests and vaccines and the ages at which these should be performed.
For young people, the recommendation is once per year until age 18.
What about those in between? That’s a little trickier. Women should be getting periodic PAP testing. At age 40, mammograms start being recommended.
For both sexes, periodic blood pressure checks and cholesterol testing should be done. The frequency is determined by one’s own family history.
So to give you a better idea, I recommend choosing a PCP, a primary care provider. These are family practice and internal medicine physicians. Early in your 20s, your PCP can take your own medical history and your family history, determine any risks for medical conditions and give you advice on how often you should return for a checkup.
It’s important to have a PCP too, so that, once established, you can call upon your PCP for acute problems, without having to consider going to an Emergency Room.
This is a New Year’s Resolution you can certainly keep… and it’s good for you.
Happy New Year!!