Some must-do screenings and self-exams

Tuesday, January 23, 2018
There's no denying how popular DIY projects are today. We love to roll up our sleeves and get it done, but what about health screenings that can alert us to possible health problems? Can we tackle some of those ourselves too?

You'll need a doctor for most screening tests and exams, of course. Although you can do some checks yourself, often with a doctor's input or recommendation. Examples of both are below. Keep in mind, these are generalized guidelines. You may need screenings earlier, more often or not at all. Ask your doctor what's right for you.


Step on a scale. Type the result (plus your height) into a body mass index (BMI) calculator, like this one, to see if you're overweight or obese:

Measure your waist. Place a tape measure just above your hipbones, exhale and measure. A waist greater than 40 inches for men or 35 for women boosts type 2 diabetes and heart disease risks.

Check your feet if you have diabetes. Your doctor may have you look for and report any sores or other problems before they become major infections.

Check your skin for cancer. Frequent (such as monthly) self-skin checks may help you find cancer early. Changing moles, blemishes or other worrisome-looking areas on your skin should be shown to your doctor.

Monitor your blood pressure. Your doctor may have you use a portable monitor at home if, for instance, you have borderline high blood pressure or your readings might be high only at the doctor's office.


Mammograms. Women should have yearly breast cancer screenings starting at age 40, or even earlier depending upon your doctor’s recommendations.

Colonoscopy. Starting at age 50, colonoscopies or other screening tests are recommended for both men and women to help prevent colorectal cancer or find it early.

Pap tests. Starting at 21, regular Pap smears help guard against cervical cancer in women.

Blood pressure checks. Have your doctor check your blood pressure, especially if you have certain conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.

Cholesterol blood tests. Starting at age 20, have your cholesterol checked every four to six years.

Establishing a primary care physician of your own is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure a healthy life. Call 863-680-7190 to schedule an appointment with one of our internal or family medicine providers..


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