The key to a healthy body starts with routine physical exams by your primary care physician and a lifestyle that combines regular exercise with wholesome foods. Patients can work with their doctors to be proactive about their risk for common conditions and diseases. It's possible to avoid the many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, or some cancers if you follow your physician's advice and get all of the necessary diagnostic tests. Here are the common health screenings and diagnostic tests patients may be advised by their health provider to add to their yearly physical to ensure their health.
One of the first places to start with your health screening routine is your cholesterol levels. Your doctor can order an easy blood test to get a glimpse of your levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Cholesterol is a waxy substance your body uses for hormone production and fat digestion. Too much of this substance can lead to plaque build-up in the arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Doctors recommend that patients get their cholesterol and lipid levels checked every four to six years.
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood pressure monitoring is another big part of understanding your overall wellness. Many providers do a quick blood pressure check during every doctor visit to get an idea of how well your heart is functioning. This test gives you two numbers, systolic and diastolic. If the numbers are too high, that means a patient has high blood pressure. High blood pressure causes narrowing of the arteries and can lead to heart disease and an increased risk of stroke. Low numbers, or low blood pressure, could cause issues like fainting and dizziness.
Skin Cancer Awareness
Skin cancer screenings are also vital to making sure a patient is healthy. Health experts recommend that patients visit a dermatologist at least once per year to get a full skin cancer check. Additionally, patients can do their own self-check of their skin more often. Be on the lookout for changes to moles, which could be a sign of one of the worst skin cancers, melanoma.
Adults should also schedule sexually transmitted infection tests on a regular basis. Getting an STI test can be embarrassing, but it's essential to schedule these screenings if you are sexually active. Patients should get screened for the most common sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Pregnant women usually get these tests as part of their regular prenatal blood panel. Patients who have multiple partners should schedule tests more frequently.
There are also a variety of different cancer screenings that are essential to any complete physical. Some cancer tests, such as breast cancer and colorectal cancer, are only screened if there is a family history of the disease or after a certain age. Today, researchers and entrepreneurs, like Dr. Harry Stylli, are working to bring more noninvasive and simple cancer screenings to the yearly physical. On Harry Stylli's LinkedIn, you can see how much of his career has been dedicated to improving this technology.
When evaluating your body's health and wellness, it's important to not overlook a key gland, the thyroid. As people age, the thyroid may start to function abnormally, which could lead to a variety of physical problems. Doctors can easily check your thyroid's ability to function with a simple blood test. An under-functioning thyroid, or hypothyroidism, may lead to weight gain and fatigue. Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, causes problems like weight loss and heart palpitations.
Vitamin D Test
Checking your Vitamin D levels is another way people can improve their health outlook. Your doctor can order a blood test that monitors Vitamin D levels and give you recommendations for supplements if a deficiency is detected. Low levels of Vitamin D could lead to a higher risk of heart disease, depression, fatigue, memory problems, and immune system problems.
For women, it's also essential to get yearly cervical cancer screenings. Women can make an annual appointment at their gynecologist to get the screening taken care of. Your physician screens your cervix for abnormalities during the Pap smear, which is completed during a pelvic exam. Doctors take a sample of your cells from the cervix and have them lab tested to detect pre-cancerous cells.
Men also need to take action and keep up on their risk of developing prostate cancer. Men have different options for screenings, depending on their age and risk. Most healthy men get a prostate cancer screening during their yearly physical with the digital rectal exam. A doctor can use a finger to feel potential cancer masses. A more precise cancer screening exam is the PSA test, which checks the levels of prostate-specific antigens in the blood.
Staying healthy is possible if you keep up with yearly physical exams and schedule some of these important health screenings whenever possible. You can help lower your risk of developing heart disease or some cancers if you pay attention to your calendar and understand which tests are best for you.