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Porch & Parish

Health is Wealth: February is American Heart Month

Feb 01, 2024 10:45AM ● By Jen Gennaro

When it comes to wellness checkups, I’d venture to say most working adults don’t do them. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Besides, who has time? 

Thankfully, Zachary resident Monte Talley made the time. He scheduled an appointment with his general practitioner last January due to a constant, dull stomachache. After months of testing with no insight, the 48-year-old was referred to a cardiologist due to a family history of heart disease. He was stunned when scans revealed more than five blockages in his heart, requiring open heart bypass surgery. “He had no real symptoms,” says his wife Ashley. “Thank God we went digging before anything bad happened!”

Experts recommend regular screenings with specialists for those with family history of serious illness, and annual or periodic checkups in general for adults in the following categories:

  1. Annual physical exam, or well check

  2. Blood pressure measurement: for preventing and managing hypertension

  3. Cholesterol screening: to assess levels of cholesterol and manage heart health

  4. Blood glucose test: especially for those with family history of diabetes

  5. Eye exam: for prevention and early detection of eye diseases

  6. Dental Checkup: cleanings and checkups can prevent oral health issues

  7. Skin Cancer Screening: particularly important for those with a history of sun exposure 

  8. Colonoscopy or Colorectal Cancer Screening: recommended starting at age 45, to detect and prevent colorectal cancer.

  9. Mammogram or Breast Exam: recommended annually for women starting at age 40

  10. Bone Density Test: recommended for postmenopausal women to assess bone health and detect osteoporosis.

  11. Prostate exam: generally recommended for men starting at age 50

Take the time to schedule a couple of these in 2024. It just might save your life!

The specific medical checkups recommended for adults can vary based on individual health factors, age, gender, and personal medical history, and this is not a comprehensive list.