With the constant influx of health news and ever-changing lifestyle recommendations, it can be tricky to know whether your daily habits are actually healthy. But there are a handful of tests you and your doctor can do that will indicate whether you are doing the best for your health or whether you need to improve. As usual, 6.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night, a healthy diet and frequent exercise are crucial. You should do strength training twice a week and eat a diet chock-full of vitamin-rich foods such as salmon, walnuts and berries.
You know all that. You try to do all that. You look good and feel OK. But how healthy are you, really?
To know for sure, always have an annual physical. A yearly visit to your primary care doctor is excellent because not only does it allow your doctor to detect your health patterns year over year, but it also lets you learn about the latest health trends and get advice from your doctor if you’re looking to change your exercise regimen or medications. Plus you’ll be able to track your status relative to the most important measures of health.
Make sure these baseline numbers are in check at your annual appointment.
Cholesterol. LDL cholesterol (the bad one) and triglycerides should be less than 100.
Blood sugar. Your fasting glucose level should be less than 107—under 100 is even better.
Waist circumference. This should be less than half of your height in inches.
Blood pressure reading. 120/80 is great, but strive for 115/75.
If all of these tests check out, you’re most likely in tiptop shape. But here are additional tests you can do to be even more certain you’re healthy enough.
Bone density test. Women should have this test around menopause and men around age 60. If everything is normal, the test should be repeated every five years.
Mammogram. This should be done every two years for women after age 40. Women who are at a higher risk for breast cancer can start the tests earlier.
Colonoscopy. This test should be done for men and women beginning at age 50 and then every 10 years.
Eye exam. No matter your age, get this test done at least once every two years.
Hearing exam. The first hearing test should be done at age 65 and then every year after at an annual physical.
Dental exam. Couple this with a teeth cleaning once a year.
Stress test. Get this done once at age 50 as a baseline and then every five years until age 65 or if symptoms develop. Once you turn 65, every other year is ideal.
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.