Living well and feeling good are common goals shared by patients and families at every age and stage across a lifetime.
The key to a healthy outlook—or living at your “healthiest best”—often begins with thorough preventive care established in partnership with your provider and continues with your commitment to following basic guidelines, screenings and recommendations for your health as you encounter life’s milestones.
Changing guidelines for cervical cancer screening have recently caused confusion about how often women should schedule a Pap smear.
Pap smears help to detect precancerous changes in ones body and help prevent cancer from developing.
Our OB/GYNs believe women do not need an annual Pap smear and should instead follow the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) guidelines to schedule one every three years.
Begin Pap smears and pelvic exams at age 21, even if you are sexually active before then.
Continue Pap smears every three years until age 29, unless otherwise recommended by your provider .
After age 30 and through age 65, average-risk women can have a Pap smear every five years along with an HPV co-test. Without HPV testing, continue your Pap smear every three years.
Women of all ages should continue your annual pelvic exam with your OB/GYN or primary care provider and discuss your overall health and any possible concerns.
Mammograms are the gold standard for early detection of breast cancer.
EvergreenHealth follows the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s guidelines that recommend all women receive clinical breast exams beginning at age 30 and annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40.
Get your blood pressure checked at least once every 1-2 years. Ask your doctor how often you need to get checked.
If deemed at high risk, men and women should get their cholesterol checked once every 5 years beginning at age 20.
If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor if you need to be screened for type 2 diabetes.
You never outgrow the need for vaccines.
The specific immunizations you need as an adult are determined by factors such as your age, lifestyle, high-risk conditions, type and locations of travel, and previous immunizations.
Some adults incorrectly assume that the vaccines they received as children will protect them for the rest of their lives. Generally this is true, except that:
- Some adults were never vaccinated as children
- Newer vaccines were not available when some adults were children
- Immunity can begin to fade over time
- As we age, we become more susceptible to serious disease caused by common infections (such as flu and pneumococcus)
Here is the CDC's recommended vaccination schedule: