5. Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

  • What it is: A cholesterol test measures the level of cholesterol in your blood and can help indicate your risk of heart disease and stroke. Blood pressure monitoring is an important element in evaluating most diseases and conditions. It also helps to diagnose and evaluate treatment for high blood pressure (hypertension) and related conditions, such as preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension.
  • When you should have it: The American Heart Association recommends you have a complete blood cholesterol test called a fasting lipoprotein profile every five years starting at age 20. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health recommends you check your blood pressure every two years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

6. Diabetes Test

  • What it is: A diabetes test analyzes your blood glucose levels. Higher blood glucose can indicate that you have diabetes or prediabetes, a condition that puts you at high risk for diabetes. A diabetes test involves taking a small sample of your blood.
  • When you should have it: The American Diabetes Association recommends you have a diabetes screening test once every three years once you turn 45. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend diabetes testing unless you have symptoms of diabetes, such as urinating more often and being more thirsty, or if you have a high risk of diabetes, such as high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, or obesity. Talk to your primary care doctor if you have concerns, and you can decide together if you need a diabetes test.

7. Colonoscopy

  • What it is: A colonoscopy is a procedure doctors use to examine the lining of the colon and rectum for signs of colorectal cancer. It can also help your doctor find the reason for intestinal symptoms, including rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel movements.
  • When you should have it: You should have a colonoscopy every ten years starting at age 50. Ten years may seem like a long time between tests. But colorectal cancer grows slowly and a colonoscopy is very effective at finding and removing small areas of precancerous cells. The frequency and initial testing timeframe differs for people with a family history of colon cancer. Search for a gastroenterologist at Healthgrades.

8. Bone Density Test

  • What it is: A bone density test measures bone mass in key areas of your body, such as your wrist, hip and heel. It is currently the only test to diagnose osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become weak and brittle, and become more susceptible to breaking. A bone density test can be done using different machines, but a common technique is dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan.
  • When you should have it: Several healthcare organizations recommend you have a bone density test at age 65. If you are younger than 65, you should consider a bone density test if you have rheumatoid arthritis, a family history of osteoporosis, previous fractures, or have taken a long course of steroids. You may also want to consider the test if you smoke or have smoked, or if you are a heavy drinker.

9. Hearing and Vision Screening

  • What it is: Hearing and vision screening tests look for whether you have problems hearing and seeing. Hearing and vision problems are particularly common in older adults.
  • When you should have it: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) does not recommend routine hearing or vision screening for people who don’t have symptoms of hearing or vision loss. If you have new problems hearing or seeing, talk with your doctor about getting checked, regardless of your age.

10. Oral Health Checkup

  • What it is: An oral health checkup involves getting a teeth cleaning, an oral health exam, and X-rays of your mouth. Dental checkups help you keep your ability to chew, speak and smile. Your dentist can also diagnose oral cancer, gum disease, mouth infections such as cold sores, and other conditions that can spread to the rest of your body.
  • When you should have it: You should have an oral health checkup and teeth cleaning one to two times a year throughout your adult life. If you don’t already have one, you can search for a dentist at Healthgrades.

Key Takeaways

  • Stay healthy with regular health checkups and screening tests.
  • Discover diseases and conditions early so that you have the best chance of treating them successfully.
  • Visit a primary care doctor or Ob/Gyn once a year for your entire life even if you’re feeling well.
  • Ask your doctor about additional health screenings and follow-up appointments based on your screening results and medical history.
  • Check out the government’s interactive screening chart for women