Preventive Health Cheat Sheet

Are you due for a preventive health screening? The list below is based on nationally recognized health organizations and can help you make decisions about your health.

By Age 18

  • Well visits: Physicals should include height, weight, body mass index and blood pressure measurements. Your doctor may recommend various immunizations and screenings.
  • Dental visits: Up to twice annually.
  • Hearing and vision screenings: A hearing test should be done at least once every 10 years until age 50, and every three years thereafter. Asymptomatic adults should have a vision test every two years until age 60 and then annually.


  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea screening: Testing for sexually transmitted infections should begin when a woman becomes sexually active until age 25, and then annually if a woman is high risk. Screenings are also recommended for pregnant women under 25, and for pregnant women over age 25 if they are high risk.

Age 20

  • Cholesterol test: At least once every five years.

Age 21

  • Pap test: This test for cervical cancer is recommended once a woman turns 21. The frequency thereafter depends on age.

Age 40

  • Diabetes screening: Blood glucose should be tested as part of a cardiovascular risk assessment in adults aged 40 to 70 years who are overweight or obese.


  • Mammogram: Women should consider mammography, especially if they are high risk for breast cancer. They should discuss an appropriate screening schedule with their doctor.

By Age 50

  • Colorectal cancer screening: Discuss with your doctor by age 50 whether you should have colorectal screenings. The risks and benefits of different screening methods vary.

Age 65 and Older

  • Bone density screening: Recommended for all women ages 65 years and older and men if recommended by their doctor.


  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm: Recommended to be done once by ultrasonography for men between ages 65 and 75 who have ever smoked.

Note: Your doctor’s recommendations may vary from these guidelines and should take priority, as they are based on your own health condition and risk factors.

Sources: American Optometric Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Published on: September 11, 2017, 08:37 AM ET
Last updated on: July 27, 2018, 02:41 AM ET