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health screenings by age

Complete Guide to Annual Health Screenings by Age

Health screenings are an essential aspect of preventative health for people of all ages. Your provider will often recommend tests when you come in. 


What tests should you get when you are feeling healthy? What tests should you ask for?


There are age-specific tests that may not be needed every year as well as specific tests for different genders. Understanding these tests and when to ask for them can help you stay on top of your overall health. Early detection is critical when treating illnesses like cancer and controlling chronic conditions according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force


Here is an in-depth guide to the health screenings you might need, organized by age and gender. An established baseline is needed for many of the tests and is often gathered in the earlier years. Each individual may have additional blood work, screenings, and tests recommended by a provider based on your personal history.  Work with your primary care provider to set up the annual health screenings that are right for you. 

18 to 39 Years Old 

Annual health screenings at this age are often missed. Busy work and family lives keep healthy adults from seeing their primary care provider. A well-person screening is typically covered by insurance and recommended on a yearly basis.


This annual screening would typically include:

  • Weight and Height: Annually
  • Blood Pressure: Annually
  • Cholesterol Check: Annually if there are known risk factors, otherwise every five years. 
  • Skin Screening: For lesions or moles that look suspicious.
  • Historical Illness Screenings: For known family medical issues such as heart conditions, diabetes, and cancer. 
  • Diabetes Screening: Annually if there are known risk factors, otherwise bi-annually if BMI is greater than 25 or other lifestyle factors are present. 
  • Immunizations 
  • Depression Screening
  • Blood Work is done annually and may include: 
    • HDL and LDL cholesterol
    • Complete Blood Count
    • Basic or Complete Metabolic Panel 
    • Thyroid Panel
    • Liver Enzyme Markers
    • Sexually Transmitted Disease Tests 
    • Plasma Glucose

health screenings by age

Extra Screenings for Women 

  • Cervical Cancer Screening: Pap smears every 3 years.
  • The HPV vaccine: If not received as an adolescent 
  • Breast Exam: A self-exam should be performed by you at home monthly and by clinical provider yearly.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections: Depending on lifestyle or patient request. May include HIV, HPV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or other infections. 

Extra Screenings for Men 

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections: Depending on lifestyle or patient request.
  • Testicular Exam: Home self-exams can be done as well.  

40 to 64 Years Old 

The screenings completed for adults ages 40 to 64 years of age will continue annually based on your medical history. Work with your provider to determine if these tests can be done bi-annually, every 3 years or a different time frame based on any current medical issues. 


Columbia NPG’s board-certified nurse practitioners offer the latest preventative screenings and can help you determine which ones are best for you. Additional health screenings, tests, and vaccines that could be done in this age bracket include:  

  • Shingles Vaccine: Two doses separated by 2 to 6 months given at age 50 and up. 
  • Flu Shot: Annually
  • Colorectal Screening: Age 50 and up unless other risk factors are present.
  • Colonoscopy: May be needed based on medical history.
  • Osteoporosis Screening: Age 50 and up with risk factors.
  • Lung Cancer Screening: Annually if a past smoker. According to the American Lung Association adults, age 55 years and up, can have this screening covered by their insurance. 
  • Depression Screening: Mental health assessment 

Extra Screenings for Women 

  • Annual Blood Work: Continue annual exams as established in earlier years. 
  • Mammogram: Annually or Bi-annually based on your risk factors.
  • Pelvic Exam: Physical exam and Pap smear every 3 years or more frequently based on history and risk factors.   

Extra Screenings for Men 

  • Prostate Exam: Age 50 and up unless other risk factors are present. 

65 Years and Older 

Many tests that were optional in the other categories will become recommended by age 65 and more readily covered by insurance companies. These tests are essential to evaluating overall health and continuing to maintain health at this age.


All the previous yearly tests will continue with these additions:

  • Colorectal Cancer Screening: Baseline test if not done previously and continued tests based on baseline results.
  • Height and Weight: Although this is a screening performed every year, as you age height becomes more important as shrinking height could be a sign of osteoporosis. 
  • Fall Prevention Screening: Baseline and then as needed. 
  • Depression Screening: Mental health assessment 
  • High Dose Flu Vaccine: Fluzone High-Dose is only available to adults 65 years old and older according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

annual health screenings

Extra Screenings for Women 

  • Cervical Cancer Screening: Most women can stop having Pap smears if they have no history of cervical cancer. If a hysterectomy has taken place then no pelvic exam may be necessary. 
  • Osteoporosis Screening: Women are at higher risk for osteoporosis and will be screened more regularly at this age. (Baseline at 65 years old, if not already established, and additional screening based on the results) 

Extra Screenings for Men

  • Prostate Screenings: Continue annually. 
  • Osteoporosis Screening: Every 5 years after the baseline is established. 

Schedule a Comprehensive Health Screening With a Practitioner You Can Trust

Health screenings are based on the information you provide, so be sure to discuss your complete health history with your practitioner at every yearly visit. Write down questions you may have for your provider ahead of time and take notes during your appointment. Bring a list of your medications and supplements with you and share that information with your provider as well. 


Your annual health screening is an opportunity to take control of your personal health and work with your provider to make shared decisions. Services available to you may differ based on your history, current symptoms, and health insurance provider. 


Some variation exists regarding the timing and frequency of screening guidelines from the recommending entities.


Columbia NPG’s board-certified nurse practitioners will work with you to decide which annual health screenings are best for you. You can call us at 212-326-5705 to schedule your appointment today.

Columbia Nursing


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