It’s often said, if you have your health, you have everything. That’s why Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey wants all of our members to get and stay healthy. A simple way to stay on track is to have regular preventive screenings. Most adult health screenings are covered under your Horizon health plan when done in network. Let’s look at a few that are usually performed during your annual physical exam.
Your doctor will record your height, weight, body mass index, also called BMI, and blood pressure, and will discuss if you need to make changes to keep healthy. Diabetes and high cholesterol are common in adults and are risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Your doctor may test your blood to check your cholesterol and blood sugar.
There are several cancer screenings recommended for women and men. Women age 40 and older are encouraged to have a mammogram, although women at high risk may begin earlier, if recommended. Clinical breast exams may be performed by your doctor during an annual physical exam. Pap tests check for cervical cancer and are recommended for women beginning at age 21 years. The frequency for a Pap test depends on the woman’s age. Both men and women should have a colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 50 years. People at high risk may be screened earlier, if recommended. There are a variety of screenings for colorectal cancer, so discuss with your doctor which one is best for you and how often you should be screened. Men should discuss with their doctor the need for a Prostate cancer screening beginning at age 50 if there are no symptoms or risk factors. Men at high risk should begin this discussion between age 40 and 45.
A few other preventive screenings are also recommended. Women ages 65 and older should receive a bone density test. Men should discuss risk factors with their doctor to see if they also need a bone density test. Skin cancer screenings are usually part of the annual physical, and the American Cancer Society recommends monthly self checks. A health care professional should examine any unusual or changing mole or lesion. Men ages 65 to 75 who have smoked should have an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, or AAA, screening, which is done through ultrasound. A comprehensive eye exam can find glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy, all of which can affect your vision. Check with your doctor about how often you need an eye exam.
If you have symptoms of hearing loss, your doctor may recommended a hearing test. Your doctor may also screen you for depression using a simple questionnaire. Be sure to call your doctor if you feel you are unable to handle the stress and demands of daily living. Immunizations can prevent disease and help you stay healthy. Talk with your doctor about which immunizations may be right for you. Vaccines protect against many diseases including the flu, pneumonia, shingles, whooping cough and tetanus.
Dental care is also important to staying healthy. Regular dental exams are recommended and many dental plans will cover preventive care. Remember, preventive screenings are a simple way to keep your health in check. Talk to your doctor today.