The Picture of Health – His and hers health screenings | 3 min read

Health screenings are one of the most effective ways to detect and control health issues before they become a bigger problem. Many serious conditions can be stopped in their tracks or successfully managed if detected early. Recommendations will vary by patient, based on family history, symptoms, and risk factors. If you have pre-existing conditions (diabetes or high cholesterol) you may need further medical testing. 

20s ONWARDS 

Men and women 

  • High blood pressure and BMI: Start regular screenings for high blood pressure and obesity/body mass index (BMI). Your doctor may suggest other screening tests depending on your personal risk factors. 
  • Coronary heart disease: For men and women at increased risk for heart disease, screenings begin at age 20.
  • Skin check: Have a baseline skin check. Visit your doctor or dermatologist regularly for a ‘mole patrol’ to check for the beginnings of skin cancer or skin changes caused by sun exposure.
  • Dental check-ups: Visit the dentist for a cleaning and check-up every six months. 

Women

  • Pap smear: A pap smear tests cells from your cervix for signs of irregularities. As cervical cancer is usually slow to develop, early detection can mean effective treatment. Annual pap smears are recommended from the age of 21 or within one to three years after becoming sexually active.

30s ONWARDS

Men and women

  • Cholesterol: Cardiovascular disease screenings for lipid disorders (cholesterol, lipoprotein, triglycerides and lipid panel) for men age 35 and older and older, women age 45 and older. 
  • Diabetes: Get screened for diabetes if you are overweight or obese. Screening for Type 2 diabetes is recommended in asymptomatic adults under age 45 who are overweight, and/or have sustained elevated blood pressure, and/or have a family history of diabetes.
  • Eye tests: Getting your eyes tested annually may mean early detection of a serious illness or health issue before any obvious physical symptoms exist.

Women

  • Mammogram: This test uses radiology to scan the breast for irregular tissue and is effective at detecting early signs of cancer. Mammogram results are compared to those from previous years to note any changes. It is recommended that women with any family history of breast cancer start screenings at age 30, while those with no history can start having annual mammograms from age 40. 

40s ONWARDS

Men and women

  • Glaucoma: Screenings may not begin until after age 40.

Men

  • Prostate cancer (PSA test): Screening for prostate cancer is by means of a blood test called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which measures the level of a protein (PSA) produced by the prostate gland. PSA screening should begin at the age of 50, but if your father or brother has had prostate cancer, you should undergo screening from the age of 40. 

50s ONWARDS

Men and women

  • Colonoscopy: A screening in which a scope is used to look for growths in your large intestine. If you are healthy, you should have your first colonoscopy at age 50. The schedule of follow-up scopes will depend on initial results.

Men

  • Lung cancer: Screening for men is recommended from age 55 who have a 30 pack per year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

65s ONWARDS 

Women

  • Osteoporosis: Bone density screenings for osteoporosis should begin in women at age 65 and older, and in younger women whose fracture risk is equal to or greater than that of a 65-year-old woman who has no additional risk factors.

Sources and references consulted

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