Know the Tests You Need
Screening tests can find diseases early, when they're easiest to treat. Refer to the overview chart below and detailed descriptions of recommended preventive medical tests and talk to your doctor about which ones you need to stay healthy.
If you're not already established with a doctor or are looking for a new one, use our Find a Doctor tool to find the right match for you.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
If you are a man between the ages of 65 and 75 and have smoked 100 or more cigarettes in your lifetime, ask your doctor to screen you for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. This is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in your stomach that can burst without warning.
Body Mass Index
Your body mass index, or BMI, is a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. It is used to screen for obesity. Here is a tool to calculate your BMI.
Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years. High blood pressure increases your chance of getting heart or kidney disease and for having a stroke. If you have high blood pressure, you may need medication to control it.
Women should have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years starting at age 40.
Beginning at age 45 and through age 79, ask your doctor if you should take aspirin every day to help lower your risk of a heart attack. How much aspirin you should take depends on your age, your health, and your lifestyle.
Women should have a Pap smear every 1 to 3 years if you:
- Have ever been sexually active.
- Are between the ages of 21 and 65.
Once you turn 35 (or once you turn 20 if you have risk factors like diabetes, history of heart disease, tobacco use, high blood pressure, or BMI of 30 or over), have your cholesterol checked regularly. High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.
Beginning at age 50 and through age 75, get tested for colorectal cancer. You and your doctor can decide which test is best. How often you'll have the test depends on which test you choose. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be tested before you turn 50.
If you have felt "down" or hopeless during the past 2 weeks or you have had little interest in doing things you usually enjoy, talk to your doctor about depression. Depression is a treatable illness.
If your blood pressure is higher than 135/80, ask your doctor to test you for diabetes. Diabetes, or high blood sugar, can cause problems with your heart, eyes, feet, kidneys, nerves, and other body parts.
Your doctor may recommend screening for HIV if you:
- Are a male who has sex with men or are bisexual.
- Had unprotected sex with multiple partners.
- Have used injected drugs.
- Exchange sex for money or drugs or have sex partners who do.
- Have past or current sex partners who are infected with HIV.
- Are being treated for sexually transmitted diseases.
- Had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.
Osteoporosis (Thinning of the Bones)
Women should have a bone density test beginning at age 65 to screen for osteoporosis. If you are between the ages of 60 and 64 and weigh 154 lbs. or less, talk to your doctor about being tested.
Ask your doctor if you should be tested for prostate, lung, oral, skin, or other cancers.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be tested for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, or other sexually transmitted diseases.