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Which Health Screenings Are Right for You?

March 15, 2017

You hear the message often: Early screenings save lives. But which health screenings, and when?

“Knowing which ones you need can be confusing,” says Scott Lauter, MD, chief medical officer for Atlantic Medical Group. “Different medical organizations may have different guidelines for when to begin them, and how often to get them. And the guidelines may change over time. But don’t let confusion be an excuse not to get health screenings.”

The purpose of screenings is to detect health conditions early, often before you have any symptoms. This can help you avoid long-term health issues. For example, when a screening finds something like diabetes or high blood pressure early, you can change your diet, get more exercise, and possibly take medicine before it causes damage inside your body. If a screening shows bone loss or other signs of brittle bones (osteoporosis), you can take steps to prevent this, and take steps to avoid broken bones.

There are literally 100 or more health screenings available. Some are good for most people, and some are right only for specific people, based on their family and personal health histories.

“To know which ones you need and when, the best resource is your primary care provider (PCP),” Dr. Lauter says.

So at your next doctor’s visit, go prepared with a complete family medical history, personal health history and your questions. “That’s a great way to start the conversation about protecting your health with screenings,” he says.