East Jefferson General Hospital

Two of the most important things you can do to maintain your health is to have an annual physical with your primary care physician and to follow the recommended health screenings for your age range. That is why I always recommend to my clients that they see a physician prior to starting any of my programs.

When people neglect their annual physicals and ignore the screenings at the recommended age, they run the risk of letting small, manageable health problems turn into serious, chronic issues that are extremely difficult to combat. Physicians will tell you that it is far better to catch health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure at the earliest stages rather than dealing with a potentially dangerous, acute episode. Recognizing the problems now means that they may be corrected through simple lifestyles changes.

And remember, annual physicals are not just important for adults. Your children need to see their pediatrician regularly as well. Just as adults have screenings at different ages, children need to have their immunizations on time.

With school right around the corner and the hectic schedules about to begin, take this opportunity for the whole family to get a check up. And particularly for adults, ask which health screenings you are due to receive. Although there are general guidelines for screenings, family history and your overall health will dictate which screening your physician will recommend. Your physician is the ultimate guide for your screening schedule.

The following are my top five screening to inquire about:

Breast Cancer – generally women should start receiving annual mammograms at the age of 40 unless family history dictates sooner.

Colorectal Cancer – a colonoscopy for men and women is recommended at age 50.

Prostate Cancer – most men should have a prostate exam at age 50.

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol – monitor both beginning at age 20 and your health care provider will most likely take it annually.

Weight Gain – regardless of your age, make sure your physician knows about even moderate weight gain. Obesity is the precursor for many other health complications.