When it comes to family health, annual checkups should be a priority for every family. Not only can regular checkups help identify health risks, but they can also be important in preventing and managing conditions before they become serious. Remember, as everyone ages, annual screenings might change. Talk to your doctor/pediatrician about what each person in your family needs and what to expect. Some of the following checks are common but some you might not have thought about. Furthermore, women/girls will need some gender specific screenings.
Here are 8 Annual Checks That Your Family Shouldn’t Miss:
1. Complete Physical Exam:
This exam covers the basics of your overall health, including height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and any signs of disease or disability. Your doctor will also evaluate your family’s health history to look for potential risks or conditions you may have missed. For women and girls, the annual physical exam might include a pap smear, breast check, and pelvic exam. Men can also have specific checks for things like prostrate issues.
2. Eye Exam:
Regular eye exams can help detect vision problems and potential eye diseases early. It’s recommended that adults and children get an eye exam every two years unless their doctor recommends more frequent visits due to risk factors like diabetes or glaucoma. Because children’s eyes continue to grow and change as they get older, make sure to ask them if they notice any changes in their vision or eye comfort when reading. Headaches and eye strain are common in children and could indicate the need for vision correction.
3. Dental Exam:
It is important to get your teeth and gums checked every six months for signs of cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues. This includes an oral exam and cleaning. Therefore, it is vital to make regular appointments with your local dentist for the entire family.
4. Cancer Screenings:
Depending on age and risk factors, your doctor may recommend regular cancer screenings such as mammograms or prostate screenings. In addition, there are now many different types of cancer screening tests available, so make sure to talk with your doctor about which ones are age-appropriate for you and your family.
5. Hearing Test
Hearing loss is more common than many people realize, yet it can often go unnoticed until the problem has become severe. That’s why it’s important to get regular hearing tests throughout your life, especially as you age. A hearing exam will help detect any changes in your hearing and ensure that you are following the proper treatment plan if necessary. Remember to include your children when considering getting hearing testing.
6. Cholesterol Test:
Cholesterol tests measure the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood. These tests are usually done once a year or more often if you’re at risk for heart disease. Your doctor will likely order labs or collect blood at your annual physical exam appointment. This test normally requires patients to fast for 10-12 hours before blood is taken.
7. Bone Density Test:
As you age, your bones start to lose calcium and become more fragile. A bone density test helps measure this loss and checks for signs of osteoporosis or other bone diseases. This can be a higher risk factor for women, especially during and after menopause.
8. Mental Health Screening:
Your doctor may recommend a mental health screening to check for signs of depression, anxiety, or other emotional issues. This may include talking with a psychologist or psychiatrist who can provide additional treatment if needed. This isn’t just for adults either. Children can have early symptoms of these common mental conditions as well. Talk to your children about how they feel and pay attention to behavioral changes.
Taking the time to schedule and attend these annual checkups can help keep you and your family healthy and prevent any potential medical problems in the future. While it’s important to stay on top of your own health, don’t forget about your children’s health too! Schedule regular checkups for them, and make sure they are up-to-date on vaccinations you decide to get. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to staying healthy.