When most people think about protecting their health, they focus on lifestyle habits like exercising and eating right, but regular health screenings with your doctor are also a vital part of staying healthy. Read on to learn more about some of the most common types of preventive healthcare screenings.
Also called an annual physical or wellness visit, annual checkups make sure you are healthy and help your doctor identify potential health issues before they evolve into serious medical problems.
During an annual checkup, your doctor will check your vital signs and perform a physical exam to see how your body is functioning. They will check your height, weight, blood pressure, and heart rate, and may also require blood tests to check for high cholesterol, signs of diabetes, liver issues, and potential thyroid problems.
Depending on your individual health history, the physician may want to focus heavily on certain areas. If you have a family history of heart disease, for example, you may receive additional blood tests, blood pressure checks, cholesterol lab tests, and screenings for diabetes.
While most insurance plans cover the costs of annual wellness checks, it's always a good idea to check with your provider to see if you will incur out-of-pocket costs.
Annual gynecological exams can uncover medical problems early when they are much easier to treat. A typical exam will include a breast exam, pelvic exam, and pap test.
Mammograms are not included in annual well-woman exams, though some women do choose to schedule these important checkups at the same time. While there will be a quick breast exam during a gynecological checkup, mammography is the best way to detect and diagnose breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women with an average risk of breast cancer get yearly mammograms starting at age 45, though some women can benefit from mammograms as early as 40. If you're concerned about your risk of developing breast cancer, talk to your doctor to see if early screening is the right choice for you.
Colonoscopies can be a life-saving preventative screening, and they check for tumors, colon polyps, ulcers, bleeding, and inflammation in the intestinal lining. During the procedur e, the doctor uses a flexible, tubular instrument (called a colonoscope) that transmits an image to a monitor. During a colonoscopy, the doctor will remove small abnormal growths and collect any potential abnormal tissue for a biopsy.
Prostate exams are important health screenings that test men for potential signs of prostate disorders, digestive disorders, rectal tumors, and other forms of cancer.
Doctors often recommend that men schedule a prostate exam after the age of 50. However, you should ask your doctor if you could benefit from earlier testing.
If you are a Rocky Mountain Health Plans member and would like to learn more about covered preventative screenings through your health insurance plan, call our friendly Customer Service team at 800-346-4643. If you are looking for a new provider to schedule your yearly screenings with, please visit RMHP’s provider directory.