Every year, you need to schedule certain doctor's appointments and screenings to make sure that your health doesn't waver. These are the appointments you make when you've been sick for a few days and WebMD has run out of solutions. There are the preventive care appointments that keep you healthy and help you catch any issues before they become too serious. As you get older, it can be difficult to remember all the checkups you need to get every year. I mean, think about it. There are a lot of body parts and organs that deserve your attention and your doctor's medical expertise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 70 percent of American deaths each year are due to chronic illnesses, many of which are extremely preventable. It's imperative that you schedule your appointments before something develops into a fill-fledged illness. Yes, I realize those appointments add up after time. Luckily, you can schedule several checkups in one appointment, so it's not as daunting as it may appear. (And so you aren't spending all your free time in waiting rooms.) So grab your phone, a calendar, and a pen — you have appointments to make.
1. Blood Pressure Screening
According to Everyday Health, adult women need to have their blood pressure checked once every two years at the very least. Most insurance companies cover this and most doctor's offices do it when you go in for an appointment. That being said, there are sometimes free local community screenings as part of health fairs or other events, and some organizations may offer free screenings as well.
2. Pelvic Exam
In an interview with Women's Health, OB-GYN Dr. Alison Dweck said that it's important to go in for a pelvic exam every year. Although not all women need a pap smear every year, your OB-GYN will check your ovaries and uterus at these appointments to make sure that everything is healthy.
3. Breast Exam
According to the aforementioned article from Everyday Health, women in their 20s and 30s should have a breast exam "at least every three years." Then, once you turn 40, you should have a breast exam every year. This is to screen for potentially cancerous lumps.
4. Skin Exam
Skin cancer rates are rising in women in their 20s and 30s, according to the Mayo Clinic. Because of that, it's more important than ever to schedule regular visits with your dermatologist. In an interview with Shape, skin cancer surgeon Dr. Marc Glashofer said that if you're old enough to vote, you should be getting your skin checked every year. Those with a history of skin cancer or any unusual spots or moles might need to get checked more than once a year.
5. Dental Exams
According to the previously-mentioned article from Everyday Health, adults should be going for dental exams and cleanings every six months. Some say you can stretch that to once a year, but for optimal dental health — which affects the rest of your health — twice a year is best.
6. Eye Exam
How often you truly need to go in and have your vision tested depends on your overall health (as well as the health of your eyes themselves). According to Medline Plus, however, you should get an eye exam at least every two years if you have vision problems. Additionally, if you have diabetes, you'll need at least an annual eye exam. Your healthcare provider may also recommend more frequent screenings, so take that under advisement as well.
7. A Physical Exam
You've probably been told time and time again to get a yearly physical just to make sure everything is OK. There's some debate now, however, regarding the importance of annual checkups. They certainly don't hurt, and can knock out several of your regularly needed screenings in one appointment. According to Harvard Health Blog, however, going to the doctor every year had no impact on health outcomes. That means it won't definitively keep you from getting sick. Although you probably don't need to go every year — and it actually might be better if some parts of the annual exam aren't done annually — getting some one-on-one face time with your doctor isn't necessarily a bad thing.
8. HIV Test
In an interview with the previously mentioned Women's Health for the article, Dweck said that it's important for women to be tested for HIV each year at either your doctor's office or a local community clinic. Some offices may offer a mouth swab for the test, but a blood test is the most reliable.