September 19, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Ask the Doctor: What preventive care services are right for your average adult?

By Jeanelle Murphy, DO

It is recommended that every adult have yearly wellness exams with their primary health care provider to detect conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, diabetes, smoking, alcohol and drug use, heart disease, cancer, depression and treatable infections.

Every adult should stay up to date on vaccination boosters such as tetanus and pertussis vaccination (Tdap or Td) every 10 years and annual flu vaccination. There are further vaccine recommendations for older adults such as Shingles vaccination at 50 years and pneumonia vaccination at age 65 years.

Recommended cancer screenings are currently pap smears in women age 21-65 years, every 3 years in women under 30 years and every 5 years if also screening for the virus that causes cervical cancer (HPV) in women over 30 years. Mammograms in women starting at age 40 or 45 years until age 54 years then every 1-2 years from age 50 years until 75 years. Colorectal cancer screening is recommended starting at 45 or 50 years in men and women with colonoscopy every 10 years or Cologuard home test every 3 years, until age 75 years.

Yearly prostate cancer blood screening in men is controversial, but a good idea generally in men age 55 to 69 years especially with a family history of a first degree relative with prostate cancer.

Yearly lung cancer screening with a CT scan of the chest is recommended in people age 55 to 80 years who have smoked for more than 30 years (at least 1 pack a day) and are still smoking or have quit in the previous 15 years.

A screening for an abdominal aortic aneurysm is recommended for all men age 65-75 years who have ever smoked.

Yearly skin cancer screening with a full body skin check by a primary health care provider or a dermatologist is recommended.

Visiting a dentist every 6 months for a dental cleaning and visiting an eye specialist for an eye exam annually is recommended.

Staying physically active, eating a healthy balanced diet, avoiding smoking, excessive alcohol use and unhealthy drug use and getting help from a primary health care provider or mental health specialist if depressed is recommended for all adults.

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