Tests and Screenings: 40s

Cholesterol in your bloodstream. Image from nlm.nih,gov

In your 40s? This is the decade where you can correct the health mistakes of your past to get your body ready for the coming decades. Here are some of the key tests, screenings and immunizations that you’ll need in your 40s.

Both Men and Women

  • Blood Pressure: Have your blood pressure checked every two years. Healthy blood pressure is below 120/80.
  • Cholesterol Level: Your cholesterol should be tested at least every five years, more frequently if you’re overweight or have a family history of heart disease. There are many factors to cholesterol screenings, but the basic numbers that you’re looking for are an overall cholesterol level below 200 and an HDL level above 40.
  • Diabetes/Blood Glucose: Frequency of testing is based on past results and family history, but the test should be conducted at least every three years. Healthy adults are looking for a fasting glucose level of less than 100.
  • Dental Checkup: Every six months is best, but aim for checkups at least once a year.
  • Eye Exam: Every two years, or annually if you already wear glasses or contacts.
  • Skin Cancer Screening: Every two years, or annually if you have a history of severe sunburns or regular tanning.
  • Immunizations: Annual flu shot; tetanus/diphtheria every 10 years; hepatitis A for those traveling abroad.

Men Only

  • Testicular Self-Exam: Check every three months.¬†The how-to guide can be foundhere.

Women Only

  • Mammogram: The new guidelines have raised some controversy, but this is the decade where you will discuss your breast cancer risk factors with your doctor. Together, you will decide when to begin routine mammograms.
  • Breast Self-Exam: Check monthly; the guidelines are changing, but it seems that no harm can be done from a habitual check. The how-to guide can be found¬†here.
  • Clinical Breast Exam: Every 1-3 years at the doctor’s office for your gynecological checkup.
  • Pap Smear: A routine part of a gynecological exam that checks for cervical abnormalities. Every 1-3 years at the doctor’s office.

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