Preventative Health Screenings Are Key in Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

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By Ochsner Medical Center’s Dr. Keith Holmes

    I would like to thank CentralSpeaks for the opportunity to provide an article on healthcare on a regular basis.  If you have suggestions on topics for the future please leave them as a comment on the website.  I look forward to providing you with relevant medical information.  The first topic is on preventive medicine:

    Leading an overall healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward preventing illness. You can be proactive by keeping up to date with recommended health screenings as below:


•           Mammogram – beginning at age 40 every 1 to 2 years.  Women with a family history of breast cancer may start earlier.

•           Pap test and pelvic exam – sexually active women should have a check up every 1 to 3 years. The vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer is also available.

•           DEXA – beginning at age 50, you should have a bone density test to check for osteoporosis.


•           Prostate exam – beginning at age 45 for African Americans, 50 for others, you should have a yearly prostate exam and PSA blood test.  Men with a family history of prostate cancer may start earlier.

•           DEXA – beginning at age 70, this screening checks for weak bones in males as it does in females.

    Both men and women, beginning at age 50, should have a colonoscopy every 10 years or more frequently if you have a family history of colon cancer.  Those  with a family history of colon cancer may start earlier.

    Monitor your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol every 1-2 years after age 40.  Stay current on immunizations by getting a flu shot yearly, pneumonia shot after age 65, and tetanus/pertussis booster every ten years. The new vaccine for shingles is also now available for those over 65.  Notify your physician of any changes in your health.

    Dr. Keith Holmes is a longtime Central resident and Internal Medicine physician at Ochsner Health Center – Central.  He can be reached at 261-9790.

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