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Screening is an important part of preventative health care. We asked Dr. Michael Smith, Chief Medical Editor of WebMD, which tests the average person needs and when.

In your 20s
Men & women
Blood pressure: “Everyone should get their blood pressure tested — how often depends on the result: certainly during your annual physical, if it’s higher, more often than that.”
Diabetes: “Two-thirds of adults are overweight and possibly pre-diabetic.”
Skin cancer: “Do regular self-exams [and] look for any changes. See your doctor if you’re concerned.”
HIV: “Depending on sexual behavior, everyone should get tested at least once in their lives, especially when you’re young.”

Just women
Cervical cancer: “Twenty-one is the recommended age for women to start pap smears.”

 

Just men
Testicular cancer: “There’s some controversy over testing for testicular cancer, but the American Cancer Society recommends age 20.”

In your 30s
Men & Women
Cholesterol “Anyone at risk should start in their 20s, but for everyone, by age 35 it’s more essential.”
Glaucoma: “There are no symptoms, but if you lose your sight from glaucoma, it doesn’t come back.”
Hypothyroid/Hyperthyroid: “The thyroid regulates metabolism and just about everything in the body. Testing is becoming more common, especially for women.”

Just women
HPV: “Many women test positive in their 20s and it goes away. In your 30s, conditions should be monitored.”

40s and above
Men & women
Colorectal cancer: “At age 50, the ACS recommends colorectal screening.”

Just women
Breast cancer: “There’s some controversy, but the ACS says at age 40 women should start mammograms every other year. Talk to your doctor about when to start testing.”
Osteoporosis: “It’s generally age 50. Sometimes women with a family history get tested earlier.”

Just men
Prostrate cancer: “Begin the discussion with your doctor at age 50. No one recommends regular PSA blood tests until then. But men at high risk begin in their 40s.”

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