As I approach my mid-40s, I’ve started thinking more carefully about my health. Preventative screening tests become even more important as we age to catch issues early. But with so many options, it can get confusing on what’s recommended at my age.

I dug into the latest guidelines to put together a helpful checklist. Here are the key disease screening tests I need in my 40s and beyond:

Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is a silent killer that often has no symptoms. Checking it annually in my 40s is important, or more often if it’s elevated. Controlling blood pressure can significantly lower risks of stroke, heart attack, and kidney disease.

Cholesterol – A lipid blood panel screens total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides. Abnormal cholesterol is a major contributor to heart disease. Guidelines recommend testing every 4-6 years in your 40s.

Diabetes – A blood test screens for diabetes or prediabetes. Testing should start at age 45, and earlier if you’re overweight. Addressing prediabetes can prevent progression to diabetes and its complications.

Colon Cancer – Screening begins at age 45 for average risk individuals, either with a colonoscopy every 10 years or annual stool-based tests. Detecting colon polyps early is crucial for prevention.

Breast Cancer – Annual mammograms are recommended starting at age 45 for women of average risk. Clinical breast exams should be part of your annual well-woman visit as well. Early detection saves lives.

Cervical Cancer – Co-testing with a Pap smear and HPV test every 5 years is advised for women ages 30-65. Testing can end at 65 with adequate prior normal results.

Skin Cancer – An annual full body skin check by a dermatologist is wise to screen for abnormal moles or spots that could signal skin cancer. Use sun protection year round.

Other Important Screenings

  • Cholesterol screening starts at age 45 if no risk factors, or at age 20 if risk factors present.
  • Hepatitis C one-time screening for ages 18-79.
  • HIV one-time screening for ages 15-65.
  • Skin exam if high risk due to history, family history, or weakened immune system

There are also important vaccines recommended in your 40s, like shingles, MMR and Tdap boosters. Actively monitoring and screening for health issues empowers me to take charge of my wellbeing. Prevention and early detection are the best medicine! What screenings are you due for?

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