You should visit your health care provider from time to time, even if you are healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:
Even if you feel fine, you should still see your health care provider for regular checkups. These visits can help you avoid problems in the future. For example, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. High blood sugar and high cholesterol levels also may not have any symptoms in the early stages. A simple blood test can check for these conditions.
There are specific times when you should see your provider. Below are screening guidelines for women ages 18 - 39.
BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING
Ask your provider about the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine if you are between ages 18 - 26 and you have:
During your exam, your provider may ask you about:
BREAST SELF-EXAM AND MAMMOGRAM
PELVIC EXAM AND PAP SMEAR
Health maintenance visit - women - ages 18 - 39; Physical exam - women - ages 18 - 39; Yearly exam - women - ages 18 - 39; Checkup - women - ages 18 - 39; Women's health - ages 18 - 39; Preventive care - women - ages 18 - 39
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee opinion no. 463: Cervical cancer in adolescents: screening, evaluation, and management. Obstet Gynecol. 2010;116:469-472.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee opinion No. 588: Human papillomavirus vaccination. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;123:712-8.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice bulletin no.122: Breast cancer screening. Obstet Gynecol. 2011;118:372-82.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice Bulletin No. 99: Management of abnormal cervical cytology and histology. Obstet Gynecol. 2008;112:1419-1444.
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Atkins D, Barton M. The periodic health examination. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 14.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended Immunization Schedule for Adults, United States, 2014. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-schedule.pdf. Accessed July 24, 2014.
Gaziano M, Ridker PM, Libby P. Primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2012:1010.
Handler J, et al. 2014 evidence-based guideline for the management of high blood pressure in adults: report from the panel members appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). JAMA. 2014 Feb 5;311(5):507-520.
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Mosca L, Benjamin EJ, Berra K, Bezanson JL, Dolor RJ, Lloyd-Jones DM, et al. Effectiveness-based guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women--2011 update: A guideline from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2011;123(11):1243-1262.
Peterson ED, Gaziano JM, Greenland P. Recommendations for treating hypertension: what are the right goals and purposes? JAMA. 2014 Feb 5;311(5):474-476.
Saslow D, Solomon D, Lawson HW, et al. American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and American Society for Clinical Pathology screening guidelines for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012;62(3):147-72.
Screening for Breast Cancer. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Available at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsbrca.htm. Accessed July 24, 2014.
Screening for Cervical Cancer. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Available at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspscerv.htm. Accessed July 24, 2014.
Smith RA, Cokkinides V, Brooks D, Saslow D, Brawley OW. Cancer screening in the United States, 2010. A review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and issues in cancer screening. CA Cancer J Clin. 2010; 60(2):99-119.
Stone NJ, Robinson J, Lichtenstein AH, Bairey Merz N, Blum CB, et al. 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults. Circulation. 2014 Jun 24;129(25 Suppl 2):S1-S45.
Updated by: Deborah Greenberg, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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