NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — While diet and exercise may be part of your New Year’s resolution to look better on the outside, you may want to start by finding out what’s going on inside your body.

Joining us Saturday on Good Morning Connecticut is Dr. Scott Walker with Starling Physicians, to give us the top eight health screenings everyone should have in 2016.

Dr. Walker says health screenings are important because they help to establish a baseline and open up discussions about your history and habits that help create a stronger relationship with your doctor. Being proactive versus reactive may help prevent further issues down the road. A family history of a specific disease, such as colon cancer, breast cancer, or early onset osteoporosis, makes those screenings particularly important.

Below are the health tests that Dr. Walker recommends:

  1. Fasting Blood Glucose: With type II diabetes on the rise, this test is crucial for determining your risk for developing this disease. This test measures the amount of glucose or sugar in your blood after a minimum 8 hour fast.
  2. Lipid Profile: This test measures your total cholesterol, LDL also known as low density lipoprotein (or bad cholesterol), HDL also known as high density lipoprotein (or good cholesterol), and triglycerides done via a blood sample. It is recommended that a baseline test be done when an individual enters their 20’s. If results are normal, it is generally recommended that testing be repeated every 5 years or as recommended by your physician.
  3. Blood Pressure: Twenty percent of Americans suffer from hypertension, however many of those afflicted with the condition do not present with any outward symptoms, but may include dizziness, headaches, or visual disturbances.
  4. Thyroid Screening: Although thyroid issues are more common in women than men, according to the American Thyroid Association every person over the age of 35 should be screened. Unfortunately, low thyroid levels can cause symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and weight change which may be misinterpreted as other ailments.
  5. Colonoscopy: Have your first colonoscopy at age 50 if no family history. If no problems are found and you have no family history, testing can be limited to once every 10 years. Colorectal cancer in Its early stage is more than 90 percent curable.

There are a few other tests that are specific to men or women:

  1. For women Pap smear: If you are 30 or older, also ask your doctor to test for HPV.
  2. For women Mammogram: Starting when you’re age 20, your doctor should manually examine your breasts at your regular checkup. By age 40, you should have a mammogram (an X-ray of the breasts) once a year.
  3. For men Prostate-specific antigen screening.   

Dr. Walker also says it is very important to keep tabs on your vaccine schedule. He recommends to get a tetanus shot if you have not had one within the last 10 years. With the rising number of whopping cough cases here in the U.S. your doctor may suggest a pertussis booster along with your tetanus injection. Depending on your age and history, the shingles vaccine may be helpful.

Starling Physicians was recently formed by the unification of Grove Hill Medical Centers and Connecticut Multispecialty Group. The practice is owned and led by physicians with a deep commitment to providing the highest quality care, while building enduring relationships with our patients. Starling Physicians provides primary and specialty care in over two dozen specialties in 28 locations across Connecticut.

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