Must-have Screenings for Your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Must-have Screenings for Your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s

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When is the right time to get important health screenings? For example, should you get a colonoscopy in your 20s? Use the following list as a guide. However, your family health history will influence which screenings you should get when — so be sure to speak with your doctor.
20s and 30s

Blood pressure — The only way to detect high blood pressure is by getting it checked. High blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke or kidney failure, so it's important to get it tested at least once a year.

Cholesterol — Have your cholesterol checked once every five years. If you have high cholesterol, you should have it checked more often. Staying on top of your cholesterol levels can help prevent heart disease.

Skin check — It's important to have your skin checked regularly for odd-shaped or changing moles. Detecting and treating melanoma early is key for beating the disease.

Pap smear and breast exams — Women should get an annual Pap smear to help detect early stages of cervical cancer. Along with a Pap smear, the doctor should perform a breast exam to check for cancerous lumps.

Dental exam — Don't forget about oral health. Gum disease can start early, but with regular flossing, brushing and dental visits, the signs of gum disease can be reversed.

Obesity screening — Nobody likes stepping on the doctor's scale, but maintaining a healthy weight can prevent many future health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. People who have a BMI (body mass index) of 30 percent or more are considered obese.

Thyroid test — Your thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the way your body uses energy. You should get a thyroid check by age 35 to help determine if the gland is functioning properly.

Eye exam — An eye exam is the best way to protect your vision and to prevent future eye problems. It's best to have an eye check at least once a year in your 20s and twice a year in your 30s.

40s and 50s

Blood sugar test — If you're not already testing your blood sugar, have it checked at your next doctor's visit. High blood sugar levels can indicate diabetes and increased heart attack risk.

Mammogram — The National Cancer Institute recommends women ages 40 and older get a mammogram every one to two years. A woman's risk of developing breast cancer increases as she ages.

Colonoscopy — Schedule a colonoscopy by the age of 50. A colonoscopy will detect early signs of colon cancer, which is the third-most-common cancer among men and women in the United States.

Prostate screening — After the age of 50, a man's risk for prostate cancer does increase. However, the type of cancer is so slow growing that it may not be a threat. Men are advised to speak with their physician to determine if the screening is right for them.

60s and Older

Bone density test — Osteoporosis is common in women ages 65 and older. A bone density test will determine the health of your bones and your risk of bone fractures.

Hearing test — Did you know some degree of hearing loss is present in 33 percent of people older than the age of 65? Hearing loss can affect cognitive, emotional and social function, as well. So be sure to be screened regularly.

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