About the Tests

March 21, 2017

About the Tests

Every few years, the recommendations for routine screenings are revised based on the latest research.  Here is the background on some of the most common tests

Blood-pressure measurement

  • Comments: Blood pressure is tested by constricting a cuff above the elbow, then listening with a stethoscope to the pulse as the cuff is released and the blood is allowed to flow through the arteries.

  • Frequency: At least once every other year if you have normal blood pressure. If you have borderline high pressure, several tests over a couple of weeks or months are recommended.

Blood cholesterol

  • Comments: A simple blood test measures levels of total, HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

  • Frequency: Once every five years starting at age 20. If results are not within the normal range, more frequent tests will be recommended.

Fecal-occult blood

  • Comments: A stool sample is smeared on a test card. The test detects blood in the stool, which can indicate colon or rectal cancer.

  • Frequency: Every year starting at age 50


Comments: A flexible viewing scope is inserted in the colon, allowing the doctor to visually examine the colon for cancer and other abnormalities.

Frequency: Every three to five years starting at age 50.


Chest CAT scan

  • Comments: This imaging test screens for lung cancer.

  • Frequency: Smokers and former heavy smokers should have the test every year starting at age 50.

Test: Fasting glucose test

  • Comments: A simple blood test screens for diabetes.

  • Frequency: Every three years starting at age 45.



March 21, 2017


Vitality magazine

Reviewed By:  

Carolyn BrownCarolyn Brown RN MN CCRN CNS