What You Need and When
Screening tests can find diseases early when they are easier to treat. Health experts from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have made recommendations, based on scientific evidence, about testing for the conditions below. Talk to your doctor about which ones apply to you and when and how often you should be tested.
Obesity: Have your body mass index (BMI) calculated to screen for obesity. (BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.) You can also find your own BMI with the BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/.
High Cholesterol: Have your cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 35. If you are younger than 35, talk to your doctor about whether to have your cholesterol checked if:
- You have diabetes.
- You have high blood pressure.
- Heart disease runs in your family.
- You smoke.
High Blood Pressure: Have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher.
Colorectal Cancer: Have a test for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be screened earlier.
Diabetes: Have a test for diabetes if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Depression: Your emotional health is as important as your physical health. If you have felt “down,” sad, or hopeless over the last 2 weeks or have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things, you may be depressed. Talk to your doctor about being screened for depression.
Sexually Transmitted Infections: Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be tested for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, or other sexually transmitted infections.
HIV: Talk to your doctor about HIV screening if you:
- Have had unprotected sex with multiple partners.
- Have used or now use injection drugs.
- Exchange sex for money or drugs or have sex partners who do.
- Have past or present sex partners who are HIV-infected, are bisexual, or use injection drugs.
- Are being treated for sexually transmitted diseases.
- Had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. If you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and have ever smoked (100 or more cigarettes during your lifetime), you need to be screened once for abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in your abdomen.