Early detection of illness or disease can make all the difference
When it comes to your health, some things are beyond your control. But one thing you can do is go to your doctor for preventive care to make sure you are up-to-date with your immunizations, screenings and other services that can help detect illnesses or diseases early, before they become serious.
Recommendations for some important preventive services listed below are from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Cancer Society (ACS), and American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Bone Mineral Density (BMD)
Chlamydia Infection Screening
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Influenza ("Flu") Vaccine
Screening for Breast Cancer
Screening for Cancer of the Cervix
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is based on your height and weight and can be an important indicator of your overall health. Ask your physician to calculate your BMI and discuss the results with you.
A child at risk for being overweight has a BMI between 85th and 94th percentile for age and sex. If the child has a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for age and sex, he or she is considered overweight. Adults with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight, and those with a BMI of 30 or above are considered obese.
If your or your child's BMI meets the definition of overweight or obese, ask your doctor how this affects your or your child's health and what you need to do.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes thinning of the bones. It occurs most frequently in post-menopausal women, and it increases the risk of fractures. It is readily and painlessly detected with a bone mineral density (BMD) test.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection common among young women. If left untreated it may lead to serious health problems, such as pelvic infections and infertility. You should discuss your level of risk with your doctor.
Colorectal cancer, also known as colon cancer, is the third most common cancer in men and women. Early detection makes it easier to cure. Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for adults beginning at age 50 and continuing until age 75.
Screening may involve fecal occult blood testing (testing stool for microscopic amounts of blood), or sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy (where a doctor inspects the lining of your colon with a special instrument). The most common screening tests are listed as follows:
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a respiratory infection that can affect anyone, regardless of your age or health status. The risk of becoming sick with influenza - and possibly developing serious complications - may be reduced by getting immunized against it.
Glaucoma is caused by an abnormally high pressure in the eye, and can affect all age groups. If untreated, it may cause loss of sight. People of any age with glaucoma symptoms or risk factors, such as those with diabetes, a family history of glaucoma or those of African descent should have an exam. The screening test is easy and detects if you have increased eye pressure. Healthy adults with no risk factors should be screened as follows:
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). Pneumococcus can cause pneumonia, blood infections, meningitis, and ear infections. You can reduce your risk of becoming ill and possibly developing serious pneumococcal disease by receiving pneumococcal vaccine as recommended below.
Mammography is a low-dose x-ray procedure that allows visualization of the internal structure of the breast.
A Pap smear, done as part of a routine gynecologic exam, looks for changes in the cells lining the cervix that might lead to cancer. A Pap smear can detect cancer of the cervix in its earliest, most treatable stage.
Screening for cervical cancer is recommended for women who have a cervix, regardless of their sexual history.