It’s almost the end of another year to add to your age, which means it’s time to take stock of your goals from your last birthday and stick with those goals for your next birthday. If one of your goals was to stay healthy this year, don’t stop yet! There are several things you can do every year that will not only keep you looking fresh and well-rested but also spot issues with your health, like cancers and infections.
5 General Health Check-Ups You Should Do Every Year
1. Blood Pressure
While often thought of as just a measure of how stressed you are, blood pressure indicates your body’s overall health. It is also one of the most straightforward issues to manage because you can do many simple things at home to lower your blood pressure. Your doctor should be able to tell you what your blood pressure is and the number they’re looking for.
2. Body Mass Index
BMI measures whether or not your weight exceeds that which is healthy, given your height and weight. While it doesn’t necessarily take into account body composition, it is a good measure of whether you’re at a healthy weight or if you need to bulk up or slim down. Your doctor should be able to tell you what your BMI is and the number they’re looking for.
3. Blood Sugar
This can be measured through fasting blood glucose tests, which the doctor conducts without you eating anything. They’ll take a blood sample and estimate how much glucose is in your blood after you’ve been fasting for about 10 hours. A high glucose level can indicate diabetes, though it can also be due to other health issues like hypoglycemia or adrenal fatigue.
This test measures your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. High levels of LDL or total cholesterol are associated with heart disease. HDL is known as “good” cholesterol because it protects your arteries against buildups. LDL is thought to be the worst for you because it helps deposits build up on artery walls. It would help keep your total cholesterol between 100-200mg/dL, LDL below 130 mg/dL, and your HDL above 60 mg/dL.
5. Cancer Screening
Cancer screenings are usually done once a year, unless something about your medical history makes it more necessary to be screened more often or less often. The two primary cancer screenings are mammograms for women over 40 and colonoscopies for everyone starting at 50.
Bonus Tip: Dentist Checkup
No one loves going to the dentist, and it’s not the most comforting thing in the world, but it is crucial to go to your local dentist at least twice a year because they can find problems with your teeth and gums before you develop severe health conditions.
There You Have It
Blood pressure, body mass index, blood sugar, cholesterol, and cancer screening should all be done once a year by you or your primary care doctor. You should consult with your doctor about how often they recommend getting tested for these conditions, as well as which tests are appropriate given your age and medical history.
Photo by Kim Carpenter