Spring Clean Your Life for Good Health

Spring is in full swing in Northwest Georgia, and the blooming flowers, longer days and warmer weather serves as a perfect time for everyone to start anew on the path to a healthy lifestyle.

“One of the best way to help prevent serious illness and disease is to visit your primary care physician for annual health screenings” Harbin Clinic physician Dr. Brian McNiece says. “Knowing more about your medical history and overall health allows doctors to help keep you healthy.” 

One of the best things you can do for your health is to schedule a yearly physical with your primary care physician. A primary care physician serves as a dedicated health partner, helping you navigate the path to better health and keeping you on track when it comes to immunizations, check-ups and screenings.

Know Your Core 4

These four important numbers, blood pressure, blood glucose/sugar, cholesterol and healthy weight ranges, can help your physician get an idea about your overall wellness and also identify any warning signs of conditions that could later affect your health.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure measures the force of blood pumping through your blood vessels. If this measurement is too high, then patients are diagnosed with hypertension, which increases the risk for various health issues like kidney damage and dementia. Often times people can have elevated or high blood pressure and not even know it, meaning it’s important to have it checked yearly.

Blood Glucose/Sugar

A blood glucose test measures the level of sugar in your blood. Having an irregular level of sugar in your blood is a prime cause of diabetes.  Diabetes can lead to a host of other issues and concerns, so it’s important to find out if you’re diabetic or prediabetic to develop a treatment plan.

Cholesterol

A cholesterol test examines the cholesterol in your blood to determine your risk for plaque buildup in your arteries. Plaque buildup often causes blood clots, heart disease and stroke.

Much like high blood pressure, there are no warning signs of high cholesterol. Individuals can also develop it at a young age, especially if they have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease.

Healthy Weight Ranges

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for overall good health. Having a healthy weight often decreases your risk for developing many medical issues and conditions.  Your primary care physician can discuss your weight and help you formulate a plan to keep a healthy lifestyle and weight.

In addition to finding out your Core 4 numbers and speaking about your health history, there are also age-appropriate screenings for men and women.

 

Annual Health Exams for Women

Ages 18-39

Ages 40-64

Ages 65 and older

Breast Exam

A complete breast exam should be done by a healthcare provider every one to three years for women ages 20-40.

Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear

Beginning at age 21, women should have a pelvic exam and Pap smear every two years to check for cervical cancer.

If you are over age 30 or your Pap smears have been negative three times in a row, your doctor may tell you that you only need a Pap smear every three years.

Vaccinations

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): Before age 26
  • Influenza vaccination: Annually
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
  • Tetanus vaccination: Every 10 years beginning at age 19

Other immunizations upon recommendation of your physician

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breast Exam

A healthcare provider should do a complete breast exam each year.

Colorectal Screening

Beginning at age 50, women should have a colonoscopy every 10 years.

African American women should begin screening at age 45.

Mammogram

Women over the age of 40 should have a mammogram done every one to two years depending on individual risk factors to check for breast cancer.

Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear

Pap smears should be done once every two years. Pelvic exams may be done more often to check for other disorders.

Vaccinations

  • Influenza vaccination: Annually
  • Tetanus vaccination: Every 10 years

Other immunizations upon recommendation of your physician

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breast Exam

A healthcare provider should do a complete breast exam each year.

Colorectal Screening

Women should have a colonoscopy every 10 years.

Mammogram

Women should have a mammogram done every one to two years depending on individual risk factors to check for breast cancer.

Osteoporosis Screening

All women should have a bone density test (DEXA scan) once every two years beginning at age 65.

Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear

After age 65, most women can stop having Pap smears as long as they have had three negative tests within the past 10 years.

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone Exam

To ensure the thyroid is working correctly, women should have this test every five years.

Vaccinations

  • Influenza vaccination: Annually
  • Pneumonia vaccination
  • Shingles vaccination
  • Tetanus vaccination: Every 10 years

Other immunizations upon recommendation of your physician

Annual Health Exams for Men

Ages 18-39

Ages 40-64

Ages 65 and older

Diabetes Screening

Men with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 and who have other risk factors for diabetes should be screened.

Infectious Disease Screening

Depending on lifestyle factors and medical history, men may need to be screened for infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV.

Vaccinations

  • Influenza vaccination: Annually
  • Tetanus vaccination: Every 10 years
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)

Other immunizations upon recommendation of your physician

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorectal screening

Men ages 50-75 should be screened for colorectal cancer.

Before age 50, you should be screened only if you have a strong family history of colon cancer or polyps or if you have experienced inflammatory bowel disease.

Diabetes Screening

Men over age 45 should be screened for diabetes every three years.

Prostate Cancer Screening

Most men age 50 and older should discuss screening for prostate cancer with their provider.

African American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer should discuss screening at age 45.

Vaccinations

  • Influenza vaccination: Annually
  • Tetanus vaccination: Every 10 years

Other immunizations upon recommendation of your physician

 

 

 

 

 

Colorectal screening

Until age 75, men should have one of the following screenings:

  • A stool test done every year
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5-10 years, along with a stool guaiac test
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years

Diabetes Screening

If you are in good health, you should be screened for diabetes every three years.

If you are overweight and have other risk factors for diabetes, ask your doctor if you should be screened more often.

Prostate Cancer Screening

Men in this age bracket should consult a provider about prostate cancer screening.

Vaccinations

  • Influenza vaccination: Annually
  • Pneumonia vaccination
  • Shingles vaccination
  • Tetanus vaccination: Every 10 years

Other immunizations upon recommendation of your physician