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Senior Living

5 health evaluations you shouldn't put off

(BPT) - In the new year, lots of people will make resolutions to get healthier. When it comes down to it, no one is in charge of your health but you. Sure, you can use technology to track some health issues, but that will only get you so far. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to ensure you get the checkups that are key to your health care. Here are the top five health evaluations you shouldn’t put off.

1. General checkup

You’ve heard it before, but getting a full physical examination annually is the best way to keep tabs on your health and prevent small issues from becoming big problems. A general checkup can include any number of individual evaluations including cardiovascular checks, pap tests, screenings for family history, drug and alcohol use and more. Your provider will also likely order a full blood test to check for things like cholesterol levels, glucose levels, fluid balance and organ function.

2. Vision exam

Your sight is worth protecting. That’s why it’s so important to get an annual eye exam, especially if you haven’t gotten one in a while. There’s more to eye health than just seeing clearly. Your eye doctor can check for things like macular degeneration, astigmatism, glaucoma and other conditions that develop over time. Also, because vision can worsen gradually, you may not even realize you’re not seeing as well as you could be.

Experts recommend most adults get their eyes checked annually. If your current insurance portfolio doesn’t offer vision protection, consider an insurance partner like VSP® Individual Vision Plans. It’s vision coverage you can buy on your own and there’s no waiting for specific enrollment periods.

3. Dental exam

It’s true, there aren’t many people who enjoy going to the dentist. But that doesn’t make it any less important. Dental problems tend to snowball, and what starts as a cavity can turn into a more serious issue. Put your reluctance aside and go see your dentist. They can screen for things like cavities, gingivitis, infections and make sure any prior dental procedures, like crowns or fillings, are still holding up.

4. Age-appropriate screenings

As we get older, our health needs change. We become more at-risk for different types of conditions, and the health evaluations we relied on in younger years may not be sufficient anymore. As you age, consider going in for more age-appropriate health screenings, like a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer, hearing tests and mole checks. Your doctor or primary care physician can tell you what screenings are right for your age and individual health concerns.

5. Flu shot

While the flu shot is not technically a health evaluation, it’s still one of those things many people put off, or avoid altogether. This is unfortunate because a flu shot is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from real health consequences. According to the CDC, nearly 80,000 people died from flu-related issues last year in the United States. Getting a flu shot is especially important because people with compromised immune systems may not be eligible for the vaccine. By not protecting yourself, you may be putting others at risk.