Wellness Checks: What, Why and When?

Stay on track with wellness checks, tests, vaccinations and preventive care to maintain optimum health.
Stay on track with wellness checks, tests, vaccinations and preventive care to maintain optimum health. [ RAWPIXEL.COM | Shutterstock ]
Published April 7|Updated April 7

By Sally Moe, Times Total Media Correspondent

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “largely preventable chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, are responsible for 70 percent of American deaths each year.”

Well, that’s sobering. Staying current with various vaccinations and wellness exams goes a long way toward keeping your health on the right track. But what shots and tests are we talking about? And what’s the timetable? The following are general indications:

In adulthood, a range of screening tests can identify early warning signs of serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

• Cholesterol check every five years.

• Blood pressure check every two years.

• Calculation of body mass index, and screening for emotional and psychological conditions including depression and anxiety.

• Fasting plasma glucose test every three years beginning at age 45; earlier if you’re overweight or have a high risk of diabetes.

• Eye examinations every two to four years until age 54; every one to three years after that. Cataracts often begin in the 40s or 50s.

• Have a dermatologist check your skin head to toe every year, as skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S.

Additionally, for women

• Generally, a Pap smear is recommended every three years between ages 21 and 65, or every five years when combined with testing for HPV (human papillomavirus).

• A mammogram is recommended every year from ages 45 to 54. From age 55, every two years, or more often for those at high risk.

• Sexually active women should be tested annually for chlamydia, and everyone should have at least one HIV test during adulthood.

40 and older

From the age of 40, check blood pressure every year. Check vision and hearing yearly to prevent age-related conditions like glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness.

Women ages 65 and up should be screened for osteoporosis every two years, and men over 50 should discuss prostate cancer screenings every two or three years.

Everyone should have their first colonoscopy at age 45, and every 10 years after that if results are negative and their risk is average.

Vaccinations has an exhaustive list of recommended vaccines with additional info about genders, ages and risk factors. Go to (or to view or download.

Information for this article was gathered from,, and