It’s easy toput off wellness visits to the doctor. You’re busy. It doesn’t seem urgent because you feel fine. Or you’re worried your doctor might find something is wrong. However, recommended screenings can
provide peace of mind, as well as identify potential threats such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer at an earlier stage when the chance of a successful treatment is highest. Here are some of the most vital tests toput on your wellness to-do list:
The American Optometric Association says more than 43 million Americans suffer from some sort of degenerative eye disease, yet more than a third of adults don’t get regular eye exams. The eyes may or may not be the window to the soul, but they can provide a lot of information about your overall health. “Chronic conditions can present as hearing or visual abnormalities,” says Dr. Shyla High, a cardiologist and author of the upcoming book Why Most Women Die. “Blurry vision may be the only symptom of high blood pressure, for example.”The AOA recommends people have a visual exam (which checks how well you see) and an eye exam (which determines the health of the eye) once every year or two depending on age, health and medical history.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. It’s been estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. “The most important test for skin cancer is a comprehensive skin examination by a board certified dermatologist,” says Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield III, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “Everyone needs to have this done at least once in their lives from age 21 on—better late than never,” he says. The exam is simple: a dermatologist looks at all suspicious moles on your skin with a special microscope; if any lesions look highly suspicious, only then is a biopsy performed. “The frequency of subsequent examinations canbe determined based on the patient’s family and personal history,” adds Dr. Crutchfield.