Lesson 7 - Do I Need a Check Up?

How often should I visit my doctor?

Periodic screening are important because without them, the first sign of a disease is often a damaging event.

Without periodic screening, the first sign of a disease is often a damaging event. For example, you could find out you have heart disease by having a heart attack. Or you could discover you have osteoporosis by having a hip or spinal fracture. Screening tests allow you to prevent these debilitating events, to spot these and other illnesses way before symptoms appear. By identifying potential diseases early, you can get appropriate treatment before the disease process is irreversible and damaging.

As you age, your risk for health problems such as heart disease and cancer increases, making periodic screenings to detect warning of potential trouble more essential than ever.

Recent surveys, however, show that many older Americans are not taking advantage of established methods of protecting their health and lives, including those paid by Medicare. Using preventative services like mammograms, colorectal cancer screening, and vaccinations—plus making healthy lifestyle choices, like incorporating exercise, good nutrition, and stress management—can make an enormous contribution to a higher quality of life as you get older.

An excellent place to get your age and gender recommendations is The United States Preventative Services Task Force Grading System. The USPSTF is an independent panel of non-Federal experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine and is composed of primary care providers (such as internists, pediatricians, family physicians, gynecologists/obstetricians, nurses, and health behavior specialists)

The USPSTF conducts scientific evidence reviews of a broad range of clinical preventive health care services (such as screening, counseling, and preventive medications) and develops recommendations for primary care clinicians and health systems. These recommendations are published in the form of "Recommendation Statements”

You can get the USPSTF guidelines at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org.

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