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Health

Have a happy birthday checkup

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Scheduling a wellness physical around your birthday is a good way to remember having this valuable exam, which can detect problems early.  

Physicals, according to MedlinePlus, screen for diseases, assess risk for future medical problems, encourage a healthy lifestyle, and update vaccinations.  

While some debate the value of an annual physical exam, many doctors maintain the tradition.  

Woodridge Clinic recommends that healthy adults schedule a physical based on their age and sex.  Checking blood pressure and weight are standard practices.  

MedLinePlus’ recommendations for healthy young men ages

18-39 include:  a physical every two years with a blood pressure check, cholesterol screening every five years, and a diabetes screening only when the body mass index is over 25 (indicating overweight).  Immunizations should be reviewed.  

For young women ages 18-39, the recommendation is two physical exams in their 20s and 30s, blood pressure checks every two years, and cholesterol screening only for patients with higher risks for heart disease.  A body mass index over 25, and/or a blood pressure reading above 135/80 would necessitate a diabetes screening.  Breast exams are recommended every three years, and mammograms not until age 40 unless risk factors are present.  

Cancer screenings usually start at age 50 for both sexes, and physicals are recommended every one to two years for this middle-aged group.  Adults over age 65 are urged to schedule annual check-ups.  

During most exams, the provider will ask questions about the patient’s history, medicines taken, alcohol and tobacco use, diet, exercise, and depression.  The doctor typically listens to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope, checks the throat and tonsils, palpates the stomach, and examines the skin.  

For more information, or to schedule an adult wellness physical, call the Woodridge Clinic, 630-910-1177, or visit www.woodridgeclinic.com.

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