6 medical appointments to schedule

Sometimes, staying healthy means going to the doctor even if you’re not sick. Yearly physical exams, regular dental cleanings, vision and hearing tests and other health screenings are important to keep up with so you can be healthy.

With a fresh start in the new year, you can take a proactive step for your health and make the appointments you need to make — and ensure you get to them, too. The first step toward scheduling medical appointments is knowing what they are. This is going to vary depending on your age and personal or family medical history, but here are six guidelines on appointment scheduling:

A monthly calendar page.

1. Annual routine physical exam

Everyone can benefit from a routine physical each year. According to WebMD, a good annual exam will go over your personal and family medical history, updating anything that’s changed. Your physician will check your vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. They’ll also conduct a physical exam, listening to your heart and lungs with a stethoscope, examining your head, neck, abdomen and checking your reflexes. They may order blood tests depending on your personal history and their preferences.

The annual routine physical is also a good place to check in with your physician to find out about any other regular health screenings you may need, such as colonoscopies.

2. Dental cleaning and exam

The American Dental Association recommended regular dental visits, customized for your current oral health status and history. Typically, it’s OK to have a cleaning and exam twice each year.

3. Eye exam

The American Optometric Association noted that patients should have an eye exam every one to two years until age 60, then a yearly exam after that age or as recommended by your doctor.

4. Colorectal exam

Screening for colorectal cancer typically begins at age 50, but this may vary depending on your family history. Talk to your physician about when you need to do it.

5. Cholesterol test

According to the American Heart Association, adults older than age 20 should have their total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides tested once every 4 to 6 years. If your cardiovascular risk is elevated, you may need to have your levels checked more often.

6. Mammograms

Mammograms. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that women 40 years and older have an annual screening mammogram.

It can be difficult to make the time for your medical appointments or to find the time to call for them. Set aside an hour to make all the calls at once, so that you get them done efficiently. You can also stack appointments, making several on the same day, to save taking too much time off from work. Set reminders in your calendar app or write the time of your appointments on your paper calendar so you don’t miss them.

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