Going to see your health care provider when you’re not sick may not be at the top of your to-do list, but it should be. Physicals and annual checkups may prevent you from getting sick.
At MS Family Medicine Health Care PC, with New York City offices in Rosedale and Garden City, we focus on your whole health, not just your symptoms, illness, or disease.
When you come in for your annual physical, our team of health experts, led by medical director Michele Reed, DO, FAAFP, focus on wellness and preventative care. This includes tests and screenings that help us find health issues before they turn into serious health problems.
Here, we want to share with you some of the preventative tests you need that could save your life.
1. Blood pressure check
We check your blood pressure every time you come in for a visit, whether for your annual physical or for a sick visit. Hypertension is a chronic health condition that puts you at risk of having a heart attack or stroke, but it develops without causing any symptoms.
Routinely checking your blood pressure can help us diagnose hypertension early, so we can help you make lifestyle changes to improve your numbers and lower your risk of developing serious health problems.
2. Cholesterol screening
Like hypertension, high cholesterol develops without causing symptoms. Having high cholesterol increases your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke, which are the two leading causes of death in the United States.
For wellness and prevention, we recommend adults have their cholesterol levels checked at least every five years starting at age 20.
3. Pap smears and prostate exams
Pap smears are a screening test that checks for cervical cancer in women. Women start this preventative screening test at age 21 and repeat the test every 3-5 years until they reach age 65.
Why? Because all women can develop cervical cancer, and finding abnormal cells during the early stages can increase your chances for a full recovery.
We also do prostate exams for men to screen for prostate cancer. This exam includes a digital rectal exam (DRE) to check for an enlarged prostate and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
Higher-than-normal PSA levels may be a sign that you have a problem with your prostate, but not necessarily cancer. Men should start prostate cancer screenings around age 45.
4. Diabetes screening
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects almost every organ in the body. We may request lab work when you come in for your annual physical, which may include a check of your blood glucose numbers. Though not an official diabetes screening, it provides valuable information about your health.
If you have higher-than-normal blood glucose levels, but they’re not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis, we have a chance of preventing you from developing diabetes.
In addition to routine blood glucose checks, we start screening for diabetes at age 45, or age 40 if you have diabetes risk factors, such as obesity or a family history of diabetes.
5. Colon cancer screening
Excluding types of skin cancer, colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States. However, getting screened for colon cancer may help you catch it early, which could save your life. You should start screenings for colon cancer at age 45. We can talk to you about your screening options and provide referrals for a colonoscopy.
Getting the recommended preventative tests can help protect your health. Let us help you take proactive steps toward wellness. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with MS Family Medicine Health Care PC today.