We might be in the midst of a prolonged healthcare debate in the United States, but most of us are still used to the idea of basic physicals and check-ups. These are meant to make sure that we’re still checking the right boxes for simple, easily monitored health concerns. Every year you’re supposed to get your weight checked, your eyes and ears looked at, your blood pressure monitored and, if you combine your physical with a blood test and lab work, things like cholesterol and vitamin content measured.
It’s terrific to get into the practice of undergoing this kind of check-up on an annual basis. But particularly as we approach middle age, it’s also a good idea to go a little bit further in checking for conditions that are either particularly common, particularly dangerous, or both. These are just a few things to keep in mind.
If you kind of have the feeling that you know how to take care of your teeth by now and you can cut some costs by making dental check-ups less frequent, you’re not alone. This is a pretty common area for people to lapse in, and the sentiment is certainly understandable. That said, however, dentistry involves more than just keeping teeth clean. It also means annual screenings for cavities, gingivitis, and other dental issues that can be pretty problematic. If that’s not convincing enough, remember also that there are plenty of studies linking dental health to heart health!
Mental health isn’t addressed frequently enough in conventional medical circles, and it’s a far more prevalent issue than most of us give it credit for. It probably doesn’t seem like the sort of thing you need to be screened for, given that most of us are at least relatively self-aware about our mental states. But if you’ve been feeling down or you’ve dealt with stressful life situations of late, it’s wise to go ahead and speak to a professional to make sure you’re not at risk for a condition. Depression is difficult to self-diagnose, and it’s a more specific problem than many realize.
Cancer care is a diverse and complex corner of the medical industry, but it can and does involve regular screenings for those who are concerned. There are generally certain types of cancer that we screen for more regularly, such as breast cancer in women or prostate cancer in men. But it’s a good idea to do some research on different types of cancer that you may be at higher risk for, for whatever reason, and figure out where and how you can be tested for them. The obvious example would be to get checked for skin cancers if you spend a lot of time in the sun, but there are others as well.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
This may sound like a recap of a health class you took in high school, but it bears repeating even for knowledgeable adults: if you’re sexually active and you haven’t been checked in a while, you might want to make the time for an STD screening. In many cases you’ll be aware if there’s a potential problem, but it can never hurt to get checked now and then just to stay on the safe side!