It’s easy with the obvious things. Once your natural hair starts showing too much, you’ll know it’s time to visit your hairdresser. You’ll get new shoes once your old ones get damaged. But, how will you know you’re due for a check-up with your doctor? How often should you visit them? The key is not to wait for symptoms of any disease before making an appointment with your MD. You should get checked up even if you feel perfectly fine, since that’s the only way to keep track of any subtle changes in your body and assess risk of any medical issues you may have in the future. And although these aren’t strict rules that apply to everybody, since each of us is different, here are some general guidelines about how frequently to get each type of health screening.
With the exception of a dental exam, which you should get every six months or so, a majority of health screenings will require you to visit your doctor once a year. For example, you should get an annual full physical exam which includes measuring your height, weight and blood pressure, as well as examining your breast and doing any blood tests your doctor recommends. This is how you’ll keep track of your hormone levels, blood count or blood sugar. Other than that, once a year you should get tested for HIV and STDs such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, hepatitis b and c, syphilis or anything else your doctor tells you. Women should also visit their gynecologist annually for a regular check-up, which should always include pap smear and a pelvic exam.
Once in two years
In case you haven’t noticed any problems with your vision, it’s perfectly fine to get an eye exam once every two years. On the other hand, if you do have vision problems and you have to wear glasses or contacts, don’t let more than a year pass between two eye exams. Also, even though you should check your own breast for lumps and skin for any kind of changes once a month, you shouldn’t completely rely on these self-exams. As mentioned above, your breast should be checked each year, while you should get a skin-cancer screening every other year. Another recommendation is to find a medical center that can do all these tests and any treatments necessary at reasonable prices. Some even offer high-standard care with the option of booking your visit online, like Darlinghurst medical centre, where you can get bulk billing for all medical consultations, skin-cancer checks included.
In case your pap is normal, there’s really no need to do regular HPV tests before you turn 30. However, once you do, you should get one every five years, along with your pap smear. The test is quite painless and very quick, due to the fact it uses the same cervical swab they take for your pap. Also, while you’re in your twenties and thirties, your doctor may suggest you get your cholesterol, triglycerides and blood count checked once in a decade, or in some cases, once every five years, which is how often you should check them when you turn 40. At this age you should also begin scheduling once-a-year mammograms, unless your doctor insists that you take them sooner due to your family’s medical history. After you turn 35, you should get a blood test to check your thyroid hormones and antibodies, and then repeat these tests every five years or so. At the age of 50, you should consider a colonoscopy, especially if you have close relatives who suffered from colon cancer. This is also the age when you should start getting routine diabetes tests, which should then be repeated every three years.
Not only are these recommendations based on your age and sex, but they tend to vary from one patient to another. Your doctor may also ask you to get some sort of blood test that doesn’t fall under any of these categories if they see the need for it. So, talk to your MD and ask how frequently you should visit them to stay on the safe side.