Health Screenings You Shouldn’t Miss

What is health? It’s personal to everyone. At St. John’s United, our care teams serve and support people through rehabilitation and health services offered at one of our locations or in homes. We’ve rehabilitated thousands of joints and limbs and have helped many recover strength and mobility. We are committed to meeting the healthcare needs of people and accompanying them toward wellness so that they can live full, healthy lives. We work to create nurturing environments of hope, dignity and love for all who seek care from our compassionate team. What can you do to stay proactive with your own health? Insurance Agent, Katie Sutton, has compiled a list of health screenings that she says you should consider having performed regularly to ensure you stay on the path to overall health and wellness.

“Remember that health is your greatest asset”

Proactive health choices can have a profound impact on your future well-being. Your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits play a vital role in your overall health and can influence your risk for various diseases, including cancer. To help you stay proactive with your health, here are 10 essential health screenings that are typically covered by most health insurance plans.

1. Blood Pressure Screening

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a silent killer that affects millions of people, especially as they age. A regular blood pressure check is essential, as it can indicate your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other serious health conditions. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends that if you’re 40 years or older, or if you’re at higher risk for high blood pressure, you should get your blood pressure checked at least once a year.

2. Cholesterol Test

High cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease and stroke. A cholesterol test can help determine your risk and guide lifestyle changes or medication if needed. The Center for Disease Control recommends that most healthy adults should have their cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years.

3. Diabetes Screening

Diabetes is a growing concern, especially as individuals age. Regular screening can detect high blood sugar levels early, allowing for timely management and prevention of complications. Diabetes was estimated to be the seventh leading cause of death in the US in 2017. Most health plans are required to provide certain health services aimed at preventing disease at no charge. This includes diabetes screenings for adults with high blood pressure. Find out if you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes with this 60-second Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test.

4. Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide. Regular screening can detect precancerous growths or early-stage cancer, significantly improving treatment outcomes. The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases as you get older. That’s why screening is recommended by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for everyone ages 45 to 75 years.

5. Mammogram

Breast cancer is a significant concern for women over 50. A mammogram can detect breast cancer in its early stages when treatment is most effective. If you’re age 50 to 74, you’ll want to get mammograms every 2 years as recommended by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

6. Bone Density Test

Osteoporosis is a common condition in older adults, especially women. A bone density test can detect bone loss early, allowing for preventive measures to maintain bone health. According to Hopkins Medicine Bone density tests are recommended for all women aged 65 and older, and for younger women at higher-than-normal risk for a fracture. Men may want to discuss osteoporosis screening with their doctor if they’re over age 70 or at high risk for thinning bones.

7. Vision and Hearing Tests

Regular vision and hearing tests are crucial for overall well-being. Detecting changes early can prevent more severe issues down the line. It is recommended by the National Institutes of Health that vision screening be offered at least annually to adults aged over 50 years and hearing screening be offered every 5 years to adults aged 50-64 years, and every 1-3 years to adults aged 65 years or older.

8. Annual Physical Exam

Don’t forget the importance of an annual physical exam. This comprehensive check-up can help identify any health issues early on and provide guidance on preventive measures or lifestyle changes necessary to mitigate potential bad health outcomes. Your healthcare provider will evaluate the basic function of your organs, address any concerns, update your vaccinations and help you get healthy or maintain good health.

9. Prostate Cancer Screening (for Men)

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, especially in older age. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and a digital rectal exam (DRE) can help detect prostate cancer early, which can significantly improve treatment outcomes.  The American Cancer Society recommends that men aged 50 start prostate cancer screenings. However, African American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer should start screening at age 45. In general, most experts recommend getting a prostate exam every three to five years.

10. Pap Smear and HPV Test (for Women)

Cervical cancer screenings, such as Pap smear and HPV tests, are essential for women over 50. These tests can detect precancerous changes or early-stage cervical cancer, allowing for timely intervention. The CDC’s recommendation is if you are a woman who has not had her cervix removed by surgery (a hysterectomy), you should keep getting tested until you are at least 65 years old.

11. Lung Cancer Screening (for Smokers or Ex-Smokers)

Individuals who have a history of smoking or are current smokers should consider a low-dose CT scan for lung cancer screening. This test can detect lung cancer early when it is more treatable. The  U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual screening for lung cancer in adults aged 50 to 80 years who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Remember that your health is your greatest asset. By staying proactive and prioritizing these essential health screenings, you’re taking a significant step toward a healthier, more vibrant life. Don’t hesitate to discuss these screenings with your healthcare provider, ensuring you receive the best care tailored to your unique needs and circumstances. If you need help understanding what’s covered in your health insurance or Medicare plans, reach out to me, I’m always happy to help. Cheers to your health and a bright future ahead!

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  • Posted on: March 31, 2024
  • Categories: Blog