Checking Up on Your Health with Annual Check-Ups

Before 2017 slips away, make sure you have gotten all of your annual health check-ups and exams. If you still need some of these tests, make your appointments now. Doctor office appointments fill up as the end of the year looms—and a new annual deductible kicks in.

Checkups are an important way of staying ahead of potential problems. Here are a few checkups to consider getting between now and the end of the year:

Annual Wellness Visit.* If you’ve had Medicare Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get an annual wellness visit. During your Annual Wellness Visit, your doctor may:

  • Review your medical and family history.
  • Update a list of your current medications.
  • Discuss your lifestyle, abilities and needs such as weight loss, fall prevention and eating habits.

    If you are a BCBSTX Medicare Advantage member, you may be eligible to earn a reward for completing your annual wellness exam and other healthy actions. 

Some screening tests you should discuss with your doctor:

  • Bone density exam.  This is a test for osteoporosis, or weak bones. The results can help your doctor make recommendations based on your risk factors.
  • A1C diabetes test.* This is used to diagnose Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, as well as to assess how well you’re managing your diabetes.
  • Blood pressure test. While many people check their blood pressure at home or at the local pharmacy, it’s important to have your blood pressure checked by your doctor.
  • Colorectal screening.* Also known as a stool test, this is used to spot colorectal polyps or cancer.
  • Mammogram. This is an important tool for diagnosing breast cancer.
  • Eye exam.* Illnesses in the eyes (macular degenerationcataracts, and glaucoma) become more common as people age. Screening may help preserve your vision or uncover warning signs of problems. Talk with your doctor about how often you need to have your eyes checked.
  • Hearing exam. Loss of hearing can have serious consequences, such as difficulty hearing alarms and doorbells, understanding conversations and more. If you’re having trouble hearing, talk to your doctor about whether you need to have your hearing tested.
  • Cholesterol screening. As a major cause of heart attacks and strokes, cholesterol levels should be periodically monitored, mainly if your levels are already high or you have known risks. Talk with your doctor about how often you need to have your cholesterol levels measured.
  • Aneurysm screening. For men between the ages of 65 and 75 who are former smokers, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) suggests a one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) by ultrasound.  

Talk with your doctor about screenings you may need to add into your annual prevention plan. And remember to read up on Health Rewards if you are a BCBSTX Medicare Advantage member.

*Certain healthy actions may earn you a reward.

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