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Preventive Care Steps

TRI 6.23.16

In our youth, many of us neglect preventive care, believing that we don’t really need to see a doctor

until something feels wrong with our bodies. But as we age, it becomes increasingly important to get

regular preventive care, including screenings for early detection of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and

heart disease.

There are four big preventive care screenings and exams you should be getting. Let’s look at each one in

detail.

  •  Mammograms: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that women begin

getting biannual mammograms at age 50. For women who are high risk due to family history,

doctors may suggest annual mammograms beginning as early as age 40—but remember,

mammograms use radiation, which may actually increase your risk of breast cancer.

  •  Colonoscopy: Blue Cross Blue Shield recommends that all adults get a colonoscopy at age 50. For

those who are low risk, repeat colonoscopies every 10 years will likely be sufficient. Those with a

personal or family history of cancer may be told to get them more often.

  •  Well-woman exam: Pre- and postmenopausal women can still get ovarian, cervical and uterine

cancers, which means they should get an annual well-woman’s exam at least every three years.

These exams may also include a manual breast exam, which can complement routine

mammograms.

  •  Annual checkups: During an annual checkup, your doctor will look at your blood workup, your

eyes, your ears, any suspicious-looking moles and for some men, the prostate. These annual

exams can help you quickly respond to prediabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, skin

cancer and more, allowing you to get early treatment and prevent subsequent diseases. They

may also lead to your physician suggesting other important screenings such as stress tests.

Your health is the most important asset you bring into retirement. Safeguarding it doesn’t just mean

eating right and exercising; it means being on the lookout for potential problems and treating early

warning symptoms before they become full-on illnesses.

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