The Importance of Having a Physical and Getting Recommended Screening 
Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital 
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 
 
 

Did you know that most people don’t have a physical done regularly even though it can help them and their physicians identify any health concerns?  Cy-Fair Hospital believes that physicals are an important health tool in creating an overall map of your health, and getting a physical might just save your life.

Most physicals involve having your blood drawn, weight, height, and blood pressure recorded, getting any recommended screenings for your age, and talking to your doctor about your general health concerns.  So just what are the recommended* screenings?  It depends on your age, gender, and risk factors. 

Children:
Children's health screenings are similar to adult screenings and normally include height, weight and blood pressure checks, and possible hearing, vision, or dental checks.  Tests also normally include checks for the possibility of diabetes, tuberculosis, and anemia.

Other screenings might include tests of the spine, learning progress, and skin screenings to check for the presence of unusual moles or birthmarks.

It is recommended that children get dental check-ups at least once a year once they have several teeth and an initial vision screening by age three. Some pediatricians also give cholesterol checks to children if family history and circumstances warrant.

Women:
For women between the ages of 20 and 39, the following screenings are recommended:

  • Pelvic exam: yearly
  • Pap test: yearly until three satisfactory tests have been completed, and then at the doctor's discretion
  • Breast: at least every three years
  • Skin: at least every three years

For women between the ages of 40 and 49, the following health screenings are recommended:

  • Blood pressure: at least every two years, but usually checked at each visit
  • Cholesterol test: every five years
  • Skin exam: yearly
  • Breast exam: yearly
  • Pelvic exam: yearly
  • Pap test: yearly (or at the doctor's discretion)
  • Mammography: yearly
  • Fasting plasma glucose test: to check for the possibility of diabetes, every three years after age 45

After age 50, women should continue to have screenings based on recommendations from the previous years, with these additions:

  • Cholesterol: every five years until age 65, then every three years
  • Mammogram: yearly
  • Fecal occult blood test: yearly
  • Bone mineral density test: once as a baseline
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone test: every 3-5 years starting at age 65
  • Colorectal cancer test: every five to ten years

Men:
For men between the ages of 20 and 39, the following screenings are recommended:

  • Blood pressure: at least every two years, but usually taken at each visit
  • Cholesterol: every five years
  • Skin exam: every three years

Men between the ages of 40 and 49 should have screenings for:

  • Blood pressure: at least every two years, but usually taken at each visit
  • Cholesterol: every five years
  • Skin exam: every year
  • Fasting plasma glucose test: to check for the possibility of diabetes, every three years after age 45

Men who are 50 years or older should continue to have screenings based on recommendations from the previous years, with these additions:

  • Cholesterol: every five years until age 65, then every three years
  • Digital rectal exam: yearly to check for the possibility of prostate cancer
  • Prostate specific antigen (PSA) test: yearly
  • Fasting plasma glucose test: every three years to test for diabetes
  • Colorectal cancer test: every five to ten years

Don’t have a doctor?  Call us at 800-681-2733 for a complimentary physician referral.  It’s the first step to getting on the path to good health, so schedule your physical today!

*Doctors may or may not recommend the screenings mentioned above in the time frames shown above, as each doctor is different.  These recommendations are meant to serve as general recommendations.