With early detection, many serious illnesses can be treated or managed before they turn into major health crisis.
Check this list of routine medical tests. Tests like these are important because they help you and your doctor detect problems early. If you’ve missed any tests listed here, or can’t remember when you had your last physical, talk to your doctor. Bring this list with you to help you remember what each test is for.
- Blood pressure test identifies high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Most doctors will check your blood pressure at every visit.
- Professional breast exam, like a monthly self-examination, detects lumps or unusual tissue. A mammogram is also recommended as an early breast cancer screen for women over 40 — earlier for women at high risk.
- Regular dental exam and cleaning helps guard against dental decay and periodontal (gum) infections, and may detect mouth cancer.
- Pap smear helps detect cervical cancer, uterine cancer, and herpes. This is done as part of a routine physical.
- Eye exam checks eye functioning for good vision, cataracts, and glaucoma (increased pressure within the eye that can lead to blindness).
- Blood cholesterol test checks the level of cholesterol (fatty deposits) in your blood. High cholesterol can clog your arteries and put you at risk for heart disease.
- Booster shot helps maintain immunization against tetanus, diphtheria and polio, hepatitis B (if you’re sexually active), and the flu.
- Digital rectal test checks for early signs of colorectal and/or prostate abnormalities, including cancer.
- Stool blood test detects early signs of colorectal cancer. Your doctor may also recommend a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, where a small camera examines your colon.
- Bone-density test determines if bones are fragile from poor calcium intake, hormone replacement therapy, or low hormone levels. This test is for post-menopausal women, men with low testosterone levels, and people with prolonged exposure to certain medications.