Which Medical Exams Do You Need Now?

When you need them: Starting at age 21, then every two years until age 65. “We also encourage women to have a pelvic exam annually, which can help detect signs of ovarian cancer,” says Dr. Kripalani.

Talk to your doctor if: You’re over 30, are at low risk for sexually transmitted diseases (such as the HPV virus) and your last few Pap smears have been negative. The doctor may give the okay to have the test every five years.

Blood pressure test

When you need it: Every two years throughout adulthood, so long as your blood pressure remains within normal limits. A reading of 120 to 139 systolic (the upper number) and 80 to 89 diastolic (the lower one) is considered prehypertension, which means you may need to make changes to your diet and activity level.

Talk to your doctor if: You’re younger than 45 and have one or more risk factors for high blood pressure, such as a high body mass index (BMI), smoking or a family history of hypertension.

Cholesterol test

When you need it: Also known as a lipid profile, this blood test measures the level of total cholesterol, as well as HDL (“good”) and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides. People aged 20 and over should get tested, followed by a screening every five years as long as the levels are normal. Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or medication if a test reveals abnormal results.

Talk to your doctor if: You have a family history of heart disease or risk factors such as obesity.


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