Before your 2022 calendar fills up with family, work and other personal commitments, consider taking some time to schedule your healthcare appointments for the year. Many of us have made resolutions to improve our health – getting annual exams and screenings is one of the best ways to make it happen. Here are seven you’ll want to make time for on your calendar this year.
If you schedule only one health-related appointment this year, make it an annual exam with a primary care provider. During this appointment, your doctor will review your health history, do a physical exam and ask questions to learn more about your current physical and mental health. It’s a great way to catch health issues early before they become a bigger problem or turn into a chronic condition.
Visit an optometrist to get a full eye exam to evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases. Similar to an annual exam with a primary care provider, an annual eye exam can help detect eye disease during its earliest – and most treatable – stages. If you don’t have any vision problems, you should get an eye exam based on your age – ages 20 to 39: every 5 years; ages 40 to 54: every 2 to 4 years; ages 55 to 64: every 1 to 3 years.
Most people need two dental exam appointments during a calendar year – it’s typically recommended you visit your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and oral health check. Typically, a hygienist will clean your teeth followed by an exam by your dentist to evaluate your teeth, gums and mouth for health issues.
All women should begin scheduling annual well-woman visits when they become sexually active or when they turn 21 years old. These exams typically cover four things: physical exam, breast exam, pelvic exam and pap smear. When women turn 45, they will likely also need a yearly mammogram to evaluate breast health.
All adults should get an annual full-body skin check by a primary care provider or a dermatologist to detect any precancerous or cancerous skin lesions. If any spots are found, they will be removed and sent for biopsy to determine if they are benign or cancerous.
Low-dose CT lung scan
Low-dose CT lung scans help identify areas in the lungs that may be cancerous. The American Cancer Society recommends it on an annual basis for people ages 55 to 74 years old who currently smoke or have quit in the past 15 years; have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history; received counseling to quit smoking if they currently smoke; and are informed about the possible benefits, limits and harms of screening.
You should get some vaccines, like the flu vaccine, on an annual basis. It’s also a good idea to look at your immunization record to see others you might be due for, such as a shingles or pneumococcal vaccine if you are older. If you plan to travel internationally in the upcoming year, it’s a good idea to talk to your primary care provider to learn more about what travel vaccines you might need.