Screenings Are a Smart Step to Good Health for Adults

Knowing which health screenings to have at what age may help make a preventive, life-saving difference
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Summer’s slower pace serves as an ideal time to take stock of the health screenings that are recommended for adults. With this in mind, Health Net Inc, is sharing screening guidelines for men and women ages 19 to 65 and older.

Screening guidelines“Health screenings are a smart step toward maximizing good health,” notes Jonathan Scheff, MD, chief medical officer for Health Net, Inc. “Early detection is key to overcoming many diseases and conditions,” says Scheff, “and health screenings often serve as a bridge to early detection.”

Health Net’s State Health Programs, along with Managed Health Network Inc. – the behavioral heath services subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. – compiled the following screening guidelines for adults:

Men and Women

  • Blood Pressure – Ages 19 to 39 – every two years; 40 and older – every two years, or more often if at high risk.
  • Cholesterol – Ages 19 to 39 – as your doctor recommends; 40 to 64 – at least every two years; 65 and older – at doctor’s discretion.
  • Colorectal Cancer (fecal test) – Ages 19 to 39 – as your doctor recommends; 40 and older – every year after age 50.
  • Colorectal Cancer (sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy) – Ages 19 to 39 – as your doctor recommends; 40 and older – sigmoidoscopy every three to five years beginning at age 50, and a colonoscopy every 10 years.
  • Rectal Cancer – Ages 19 to 39 – as your doctor recommends; 40 and older – every year after age 50.
  • Diabetes – Ages 19 to 39 – at doctor’s discretion up to age 45, based on risk; 40 and older – once at age 45, then every three years if results are normal.
  • Glucose – Ages 19 to 39 – screening based on risk; 40 and older – every three years starting at age 45.
  • Hearing – Ages 19 to 39 – as your doctor recommends; 40 and older – every 10 years for ages 40 through 49; after age 49, discuss with your doctor.
  • Vision – Ages 19 to 39 – every five to 10 years; 40 to 64 – every two years for ages 40 through 54, and every one to three years for ages 55 to 64; 65 and older – every one to two years.
  • Comprehensive Physical Exam – Ages 19 to 39 – at least every three years; 40 to 64 – at least every two years; 65 and older – every year.

According to Scheff, “Comprehensive physical exams are especially important for older individuals because they’re more at risk for chronic conditions. That’s why Health Net created its Every3 program, which has resulted in more of our Medicare Advantage members getting these annual exams, and in numerous instances serious medical issues have been uncovered. The good news,” he adds, “is that we were then able to immediately start treating and managing their conditions.”

Health Net launched Every3 in 2010 with a goal of helping to ensure that every one of its Medicare Advantage members receives a comprehensive physical examevery year, during which each member will be evaluated for every applicable chronic condition. While Health Net already offered annual physicals at no additional cost to its Medicare Advantage members, Medicare modified its benefits in 2010 to include yearly physicals.

Scheff went on to note that there also are gender-specific screenings that men and women should be aware of.

Men Only

  • Abdominal Ultrasound – Ages 19 to 39 – as your doctor recommends; 40 to 64 – as your doctor recommends; 65 and older – once, for those ages 65 to 75, who have ever smoked.
  • Prostate Cancer (prostate-specific antigen blood test) – Ages 19 to 39 – as your doctor recommends; 40 and older – guidelines vary, discuss with your doctor.

Women Only

  • Bone Density – Ages 19 to 39 – as your doctor recommends; 40 to 64 – screening based on risk; 65 and older – every two years.
  • Breast Cancer (mammogram) – Ages 19 to 39 – as your doctor recommends; 40 and older – every year, or as your doctor suggests.
  • Cervical Cancer (pelvic exam with cervical smear) – Ages 19 to 39 – starting at age 21, every two to three years; 40 to 64 – starting at age 40, every one to three years; 65 and older – every one to three years, as physician recommends.
  • Osteoporosis – Ages 19 to 39 – as your doctor recommends; 40 and older – every two years, if medically indicated.