Start The New Year Right

It’s a new year, and a time when many people make their resolutions. How about making one resolution for yourself: get a physical. Don’t let illness sneak up on you.

Paying attention to your health, even when you feel fine, can make staying well easier in the long term. And a little prevention goes a long way.


  • Cholesterol. Starting at age 20, all adults should have their cholesterol tested every five years. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease.

  • Blood pressure. Have this checked at least once every two years. High blood pressure increases risks of heart and kidney disease and stroke.

  • Diabetes. If your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or you take medicine for high blood pressure, you should get screened for diabetes.

  • Colorectal cancer. Most adults should have their first exam at age 50. Ask your doctor which of several available tests are right for you.

Women should also consider screening tests for breast cancer, cervical cancer and osteoporosis. Ask your doctor whether a mammogram is right for you based on age, family history, general health and personal concerns. Your age and health history determine how often you should have a Pap test. A bone density scan should be done at least once beginning at age 65.

Men should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening. Also, men who are between ages 65 and 75 and who have ever been smokers should ask about screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm.