Each new year brings a new opportunity to evaluate your health. You can think about your physical and mental well-being and determine what you need to improve.
It’s also a good time to take control of your health needs for the upcoming year. That includes scheduling any annual appointments that you might need.
Depending on factors like your age and sex, you may need to see a variety of doctors in a given year. Here are some appointments you should look into scheduling annually.
Primary Care Physician (PCP)
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends a yearly well visit with your primary care physician (PCP) to help you stay on top of your general health and wellness.
At your visit, you and your PCP can talk about your overall health and you can ask questions that you may have. Your height, weight, and body mass index will be measured, and you can have important screenings done such as blood pressure and cholesterol. Your PCP will also review any medications you’re taking and make referrals to other doctors if further care is needed.
Just as adults should visit their PCP each year, children should have regular visits with their pediatrician.
Well-child visits can help you keep track of your child’s overall health, wellness, growth, and development. At your visit, you can address any concerns you may have with your child’s pediatrician and also get any vaccinations your child may need.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following regular schedule of well-child visits:
- 3 to 5 days old.
- 1 month old.
- 2 months old.
- 4 months old.
- 6 months old.
- 9 months old.
- 12 months old.
- 15 months old.
- 18 months old.
- 2 years old.
- 30 months old.
- Yearly, beginning at 3 years old.
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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends women make an annual visit to their ob-gyn.
At an annual visit, women can seek care about a variety of health issues, from pregnancy planning and counseling to cancer screenings and tests.
This graphic from the ACOG provides a list of potential health issues that women can address at an annual ob-gyn visit.
General guidelines call for patients to visit their dentist at least every six months, but you should go at least once a year at minimum. If you have any dental problems, you may need to go more often.
Regular dental visits can help you avoid any dental problems and get diagnosis and treatment for problems you may already have.
If you wear glasses or corrective lenses — or even if you don’t — you may benefit from an eye exam.
The American Optometric Association recommends adults ages 18-64 get an eye examination at least once every two years. Children ages 6-17, adults over 65, and people who have or are at risk of eye problems should get annual examinations.
Even if you’ve had corrective surgery like LASIK, eye visits are recommended every one to two years.
You may not think of a dermatologist when it comes to scheduling annual visits, but it is recommended to see a dermatologist at least once a year. At your visit, the dermatologist can scan your skin for any concerning spots or bumps and get further testing if necessary. You also can ask about any rashes or skin conditions that you’ve noticed.
If you have an existing medical condition that you are seeing a specialist for, you should be making regular visits as directed. Stay in touch with your specialist to see when you need to make your next appointment.
Preventive Screenings and Tests
People who meet certain criteria, or who are at risk for some medical conditions, may need to get different screenings each year:
- Mammograms: One in 8 American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. A mammogram can provide early detection, which improves outcomes. According to the American Cancer Society, women between the ages of 40-44 can choose whether to begin annual mammograms; women at higher risk of breast cancer also can consider this option. Women between the ages of 45-54 should get annual mammograms. Women 55 and older at medium risk of breast cancer should get mammograms every two years, while women 55 and older who are at higher risk should continue with annual mammograms.
- Prostate cancer: According to the American Cancer Society, men who are at average risk of prostate cancer should get screened beginning at age 50. If they are at higher risk, they should begin at age 45 — or even age 40 for men at the highest risk. Screenings should take place every year or every two years.
- Colorectal cancer: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends adults age 45-75 be screened for colorectal cancer. Adults 76-85 should ask their doctors if they should continue screening. Potential tests include stool tests, colonoscopies, CT colonographies, and more.
Get the Care You Need at UPMC
Whether you need a preventive visit or care for a chronic condition, UPMC is here to help. We provide world-class care, close to home.
To get a head start on booking your annual appointments, you can log in to MyUPMC to schedule with your providers. You can set up in person appointments or video visits at your convenience. Download the free MyUPMC app from the App Store or on Google Play.
In need of a doctor? Search our provider directory to find a doctor or specialist. Search by condition, specialty, location, and more. You can also call 1-800-533-8762 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
All About Vision, How Often Should You Get Your Eyes Checked? Link
American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP Schedule of Well-Child Care Visits. Link
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Reasons to See Your Ob-Gyn This Year. Link
American Dental Association, Your Top 9 Questions About Going to the Dentist —Answered! Link
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colorectal (Colon) Cancer, What Should I Know About Screening? Link
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Who Needs a Flu Vaccine. Link
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Get Your Well-Woman Visit Every Year. Link
Skin Cancer Foundation, Annual Exams. Link
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