Wellness and Prevention Part II Chapter 4


Medical Checkups

Regular Checkups

Most doctors believe that people should have regular checkups as a part of preventive treatment. Regular health exams can help find problems before they begin, or in their early stages, when the chances of successful treatment are best.

How Often Should You Have Checkups?

The American Medical Association no longer recommends routine intervals for physical examinations. It states that age, sex, general health, medical history, and other personal concerns should dictate when you have one. Talk with your physician about how often he or she recommends you come in for physicals, taking into account any risk factors and conditions you may have.

When selecting a physician for medical checkups, consider choosing a family physician or general internist. They receive the most training in preventive care.

What to Expect

Routine medical checkups may no longer include many tests that were automatically administered in the past. If you're a healthy adult, your doctor probably won't order chest X-rays, electrocardiograms (EKGs), complete blood counts, urinalyses, and other tests unless you're at high risk for certain conditions. Risk factors that would warrant administering some or all of these tests include symptoms, lifestyle, being significantly overweight, or having a history of disease yourself or in your family.

You can expect to have certain tests and preventive care administered according to your age. However, not every test needs to be given at every exam.

Age 18-39:

  • Height and weight
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Immunizations (tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (TdAP) vaccine once; tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years)
  • Men: Testicular exam
  • Women: Breast exam
  • Women: Pelvic exam and Pap smear

Age 40-65:

  • Height and weight
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Immunizations (flu vaccine, tetanus-diphtheria booster, shingles or herpes zoster vaccination once after age 60)
  • Men: Prostate exam
  • Men: Osteoporosis screening
  • Women: Breast exam and mammogram
  • Women: Osteoporosis screening
  • Women: Pelvic exam and Pap smear

Age 65 and older:

  • Height and weight
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Colon cancer screening
  • Immunizations pneumococcal, flu, and shingles vaccines; tetanus-diphtheria booster
  • Men: Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
  • Men: Prostate exam
  • Men: Prostate exam
  • Men: Osteoporosis screening
  • Women: Breast exam and mammogram
  • Women: Osteoporosis screening
  • Women: Pelvic exam and Pap smear

Blood Pressure Reading

Photo Copyright 2005, James Gathany

More on this topic

Wake-Up Call (VIDEO)

Control Blood Pressure

Manage Diabetes

Medical Checkups

Manage Stress

Get Enough Sleep

Social & Spiritual Support

Environmental Toxins & Free Radicals

Keep It Clean

Avoid Addictions

Prevention Begins in Childhood

The Cardiovascular Continuum

Related Health Centers:


The 9 Visual Rules of Wellness, Wellness and Prevention Part I, Wellness and Prevention Part II, Reverse Aging


The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.