By Dr. Mohammad Shegeft
Many of you have taken steps to take charge of your health from dietary changes, regular exercise, removing or decreasing toxin like smoking, alcohol consumption and environmental toxin exposures, hydration and appropriate supplementation if necessary. These steps will be further enhanced if you keep up with screening exams at their appropriate time.
To help you and your doctor determine what health services and screenings are best for you start by answering the questions below and then share them with your healthcare provider.
- What is your age group? 18 to 34 35 to 49 50 to 64 65 +
- When was your last Wellness Check up or Full Physical?
- Did you last Wellness Check up or Physical involve and comprehensive blood work?
- Were there any concerns with your physical exam and/or blood results?
- What is your personal medical history?
- Are there any specific diagnoses?
- Do you take any prescription medical drugs?
- What is your medical family history?
There specific guidelines for when men and women should have screening exams. For example it is recommended that everyone above age 18 to check their blood pressure at least twice a year. If you have abnormal readings, then the frequency of checking your blood pressure may change. Depending on your age group, different screening tests recommended like colonoscopy, EKG, STD screening, Mammograms and PAP smears. This time like is also influenced by not only your personal medical history, but also your families. For example, CDC recommends screening for colo-rectal cancer at age 50 without any family history and at age 40 if you have a family history of colon or GI cancers.
Medications can also influence screening as well. For example, Metformin which is a common medication to control blood sugar and manage diabetes will diminish your bodies B12 status. If you are taking Metformin, you should get your B12 status checked. Other examples included cholesterol medication depleting CoQ10 and blood pressure medications depleted potassium levels.
In general I recommend all my patients to have routine Wellness Check-ups once every year that includes blood work to check for iron status, thyroid status, cholesterol, fasting blood sugar or HbA1c if you have family history or personal history of elevated blood glucose levels, CMP to check the status of your liver, kidney and electrolytes and a CBC to assess red and white blood cells. Other screening tests like STD panels, EKGs, gynecological exams and colonoscopies can be added on an individual basis. Below is a chart that may help you determine which screening tests may be appropriate for you and your family.