Let's Get Physical

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You know you should schedule a yearly physical exam, but do you actually do it? Seeing the doc on the regular (yes, even if you’re not sick) not only helps detect diseases before they turn serious, but also keeps your vaccinations up-to-date and reduces your risk for future problems too.

Have your blood pressure checked every 1 to 2 years, unless you have any conditions that require it to be monitored more closely (this includes diabetes, heart disease and kidney problems). Also ask to have your cholesterol checked. Your physician will determine if any other blood tests should be made. And expect to step on the scale and have your height taken during each visit.

To keep your boobs in check, you should not only conduct a monthly self-exam and immediately contact your doctor if you notice any changes, but also schedule a complete exam every three years until you’re 40. During your yearly trip to the gyno, expect a pelvic exam (ask to be screened for chlamydia) and a Pap smear to check for cervical cancer or any abnormalities.

You should have one tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (TdAP) vaccine after you’re 19 and a booster shot every 10 years. You might also decide to get Gardasil, the vaccine that protects against the four strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer. If so, the shots are given in three doses over the course of six months and must be taken before you turn 26.

If you have any vision problems, schedule an eye exam every two years to see if your prescription lenses need to be changed. And don’t forget about your pearly whites! Pop on over to the dentist every year to keep them so fresh and so clean clean!

For a copy of the recommended adult immunization schedule, visit cdc.gov/vaccines.

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