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Screenings are a Smart Step Toward Adult Wellness

  • Category: General Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Matt Gougler
Screenings are a Smart Step Toward Adult Wellness

As Americans from coast to coast recently rang in the New Year, many likely raised a glass and toasted to good health. From a practical perspective, one of the best ways for adults to maximize wellness is keeping current with all recommended health screenings. Toward this end, ATRIO Health Plans is sharing a sampling of screening guidelines for men and women ages 18 and older.

Men and Women

  • Blood Pressure—According to the American Heart Association, blood pressure screening should start at age 20, and repeated every three to five years until age 39; screenings should occur more frequently for those at increased risk of hypertension. Starting at age 40, blood pressure should be taken annually; those in a high-risk category should be screened more often.
  • Cholesterol—For men ages 20 to 34, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends a cholesterol screening for those at an increased risk of coronary artery disease. For men 35 and older, the USPSTF suggests regular screenings for cholesterol-related issues. For women 20 to 44, a cholesterol screening is only advised for those deemed at heightened risk for coronary heart disease. For women 45 and older who are at high risk of developing coronary artery disease, the USPSTF strongly recommends regular cholesterol screenings.
  • Colorectal Cancer (fecal test, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy)—The USPSTF recommends screening for colorectal cancer using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy beginning at age 50 and continuing until age 75. Those at heightened risk of developing colorectal cancer should begin screening at a younger age, and may need testing more often. The decision to be screened after age 75 should be discussed with a health professional.
  • Abnormal Blood Glucose/Type 2 Diabetes—The USPSTF recommends screening for abnormal blood glucose as part of a cardiovascular risk assessment for adults – ages 40 to 70 – who are overweight or obese.

ATRIO Health Plans also is working to increase awareness regarding gender-specific- screening guidelines.

Men Only

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm—The USPSTF recommends a one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm with ultrasonography in men ages 65 to 75 who currently are – or previously were – smokers.
  • Prostate Cancer (prostate-specific antigen blood test)—According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), men age 50 who are at average risk for developing prostate cancer – and are expected to live at least 10 more years – should be screened. Screenings should start at age 45 for men at high risk for prostate cancer. For men with more than one close blood relative diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age, screenings should start at 40.

Women Only

  • Osteoporosis— The USPSTF recommends screening for osteoporosis in women age 65 and older, and in younger females whose fracture risk is equal to or greater than that of a 65-year-old woman who has no additional risk factors.
  • Breast Cancer (mammogram)—The ACA suggests that women ages 40 to 44 should have the option of undergoing an annual breast cancer screening. Women ages 45 to 54 should have yearly mammograms. Women 55 and older should schedule a mammogram every two years, or annually if preferred.
  • Cervical Cancer—For women ages 21 to 65, the USPSTF recommends screening for cervical cancer – via a Pap test – every three years. For women ages 30 to 65 who want less frequent testing, screening with a combination of cytology and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every five years is suggested.

Being conscientious about health screenings is among the best ways to help ensure that each New Year can be greeted in good health.