Most parents recognize the importance of regular health check-ups for their children, but many fail to get such check-ups for themselves. However, annual medical exams are important to help people of all ages maintain good health, by spotting potential problems in their early stages.
At each visit, a doctor will usually make routine checks of functions like your heart, lungs, and blood pressure. As you reach adulthood, a cholesterol test may be given. Because cholesterol deposits start forming early in life, it's not a bad idea to start testing your cholesterol as early as age 20, perhaps sooner if you have a strong family history of heart disease. In addition, a doctor may suggest a complete blood analysis every few years, in which levels of iron, glucose (GLUE-coas), uric (YOUR-ik) acid, hemoglobin (HEE-moe-gloe-bin), and many other substances are measured.
By age 40, experts recommend that women have an annual mammogram and PAP smear, in addition to their regular medical exam. Meanwhile, men over 40 should receive a test for prostate cancer during their yearly physical.
To find out more about annual checkups, contact a doctor in your area.