Medical Screening Guidelines

The National Institutes of Health recommends the following medical screening guidelines, tests and checkups for adults ages 40-65. Primary health care providers offer the following health screenings:

Blood pressure

  • Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years if it's normal. If your pressure is high, have it checked every year.
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.


  • Men over age 34 should be checked every 5 years.
  • Women over age 44 should be checked every 5 years.
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.

Colon cancer screening

Men and women need to begin colon cancer screening at age 45. If you are African American or have a history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps, you should be especially vigilant. Find out what to expect when you have a colonoscopy - it's not nearly as bad as you think!


  • Have a physical exam every 1-5 years.
  • Visit your dentist every year for an exam and cleaning.
  • If you have vision problems, have an eye exam every 2 years.
  • Regular eye exams should start for everyone at age 40.
  • Once you turn 45, make sure that you are tested for glaucoma.


  • Be sure to get a flu vaccine every year after age 50, or earlier if you are high risk (for example, healthcare workers).
  • Ask your doctor if you should get a vaccine to reduce your risk of pneumonia.
  • You should have a tetanus-diphtheria booster vaccination every 10 years.
  • A shingles vaccination may be given once after age 60.


  • Most men age 50 or older should have a prostate blood test and exam to test for prostate cancer. The exceptions are African American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer, who should start at age 45.
  • All men ages 50-70 with risk factors for osteoporosis should discuss bone density screening with their doctor.


  • Continue monthly breast self-exams. Contact your primary care doctor immediately if you notice a change in your breasts.
  • A complete breast exam should be done by a healthcare provider every year.
  • If you are over 40, you should have a mammogram to check for breast cancer every 1-2 years, depending on risk factors.
  • All postmenopausal women with fractures should have a bone density test. If you have risk factors for osteoporosis, you should be screened earlier.
  • You should have a yearly pelvic exam and Pap smear to check for cervical cancer and other disorders.
  • If your Pap smears have been normal for 3 years in a row, your doctor may tell you that you only need a Pap smear every 2-3 years.
  • If you have had a total hysterectomy, you may choose not to have Pap smears.

Related Riverside Health System information