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How Often Should I get a Physical

So many of us take our good health for granted, and are shocked when something goes awry. Our hope is to help all our patients live longer, healthier lives.

In the big picture, people who proactively address their health on all fronts tend to better than those who do not.

Build a Strong Foundation for your Health

Maintaining your good health includes addressing many areas:

  • The Mind
  • The Body
  • Spiritual Well-being
  • Your Social connections

We all make choices about our health on a daily basis, both by action and inaction.

Guidelines for Preventive Health – Health Exam

If you’re generally healthy, you may only need occasional preventive screenings based on your age.

General adult physical schedule:

  • For ages 19-21, once every 2-3 years
  • For ages 22-64, once ever 1-3 years
  • Over 65, once a year

If you smoke or have other risk factors, you should come in more often.  Your doctor can suggest a check-up schedule.

How Often Should You Get a Physical

While 92% of the general public thinks they need a physical every year, only 62% do so, according to a Kaiser Health Tracking Pool. Here are guidelines from the National Health Institute.

Even if you’re in good shape, take regular preventive steps to stay that way.

  • Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years.
  • Make sure important vaccinations are up to date:
    • Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis immunization booster within the last 10 years
    • Chicken pox if you’ve never had a vaccination or the disease
    • Measles-mumps-rubella if you weren’t inoculated as a child
    • Meningitis if you’re under 24 and never had a vaccination.
    • Hepatitis A or B if you’re at high risk
    • Annual flu shot

Guidelines for everyone

Even if you’re in good shape, take regular preventive steps to stay that way.

  • Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years.
  • Make sure important vaccinations are up to date:
    • Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis immunization booster within the last 10 years
    • Chicken pox if you’ve never had a vaccination or the disease
    • Measles-mumps-rubella if you weren’t inoculated as a child
    • Meningitis if you’re under 24 and never had a vaccination.
    • Hepatitis A or B if you’re at high risk
    • Annual flu shot

After age 40:

  • Have cholesterol screenings every 5 years.
  • Screen for colorectal cancer with a fecal occult blood test every year or a colonoscopy every 10 years.

After age 55:

  • If you’re a current smoker or quit fewer than 15 years ago, have regular lung cancer screenings.
  • After 60, get an annual shingles vaccination.
  • After 65, have a pneumococcal vaccination.

Guidelines for women

In addition to the screenings everyone needs, women should have an annual pelvic and breast exam.

Women between ages 18 and 29:

  • Ensure you have a complete HPV vaccination.
  • Get a pap smear to test for cervical cancer every 3 years.

Women between ages 30 and 49:

  • Get a pap smear every 5 years.
  • Consult your doctor about whether you should have mammograms.

Women between ages 50 and up:

  • Get annual mammograms until age 75.
  • Have a pap smear every 5 years until 65 or 70.
  • Test for bone density with a DEXA scan after age 50.

After menopause or if you’ve had a hysterectomy, your doctor may recommend a different screening schedule.

Guidelines for men

Until age 50, most men can follow the general health guidelines. This is a great time to take some baseline measurements for comparison later.

Men ages 50 and up:

  • Have a bone density (DEXA) scan. (Although osteoporosis is more commonly associated with women, men can suffer bone loss as well.)
  • Ask your doctor whether you should have prostate cancer screening given your family history.
  • After 65, if you do or have smoked, get an ultrasound to screen for abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Under the Affordable Care Act, most insurance will cover the entire cost of procedures like immunizations, cancer screenings, and blood tests. So if you haven’t had a regular checkup recently, make an appointment now. A little preventive healthcare today can buy you a happier, healthier, and longer future.

To get your physical, call any one of our West Valley Urgent Care offices. You will be seen by our primary care doctors.

If you are seeking a primary care physician, we do have openings so you can be seen quickly at our West Valley Internal Medicine offices.

Schedule Your Physical Today – Call:

Glendale/Peoria Clinic:  (623) 334-8670

Phoenix/Avondale Clinic: (623) 218-0782

Surprise/Sun City Clinic:  (623) 691-7748

Don’t wait, call today.