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The new year offers an opportunity to recommit to taking care of yourself, beginning with timely and life-saving health screenings. Read below to understand the importance of regular screenings for men and women, and what age each should begin.

"Whether it's blood pressure and cholesterol screenings to stave off cardiac problems or colonoscopies to look for colorectal cancers, health screenings are important in staying healthy and maintaining a good quality of life," said Dr. Ohan Karatoprak, Director of Family Medicine at Holy Name. "If you skip or postpone health screenings, you may delay detecting disease, which could make it harder to treat."

Health screening recommendations are typically based on age and some vary by gender, but individuals should also consider their family medical history. "Most of these screenings are painless, non-invasive tests that can really help maintain your quality of life by detecting conditions that are often managed with medications," Dr. Karatoprak said. "See your primary care doctor to talk about regular screenings and any other health concerns you may have."

See the list below for standard preventive screening recommendations.

Screenings for Women and Men

What? Blood pressure

Why? Uncontrolled high blood pressure usually has no symptoms, yet it can lead to stroke, heart attack or kidney failure.

When? Starting at 18, check your blood pressure twice a year; if you or a family member has a history of high blood pressure, seek medical guidance.

What? Cholesterol levels

Why? High cholesterol can lead to fatty deposits in blood vessels causing a stroke or heart attack.

When? Children should have their cholesterol checked at least once between ages 9 and 11 and then again between ages 17 and 21. Adults should be screened every five years unless they have an increased risk of heart disease.

What? Colonoscopy

Why? Colorectal cancer can be treated if detected early.

When? Screenings for colorectal cancer should start at 45, earlier if there is a family history of the disease. Colonoscopies remove symptomless polyps that can develop into colon cancer, but a variety of screenings are also beneficial. Speak to your physician about the best one for you.

What? Diabetes screening, such as A1C level

Why? Diabetes can trigger a number of health issues, including heart disease, kidney and eye damage, and nerve impairment.

When? Adults 45 and older should be screened for diabetes. Younger adults with a body mass index greater than 25 should be screened every three years if results are normal.

What? Skin cancer

Why? Early detection is key to early diagnosis and treatment.

When? Adults should check their own and their children's skin for suspicious moles or color changes, especially if you're fair-skinned or exposed often to the sun. Full body skin exams by a dermatologist should begin at age 40.

Just for Women

What? Mammogram

Why? Early detection of breast cancer in women.

When? Expert guidelines vary on when a woman should start getting a mammogram. Women between ages 40 and 49 should talk to their healthcare provider on when to start and how often they should get a mammogram. But experts advise that women between 50 and 74 years old who are at average risk for breast cancer should get a mammogram every two years.

What? Bone density

Why? Detects osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become brittle and fragile.

When? Women should be screened at 65, or starting at 50 if they are at an increased risk of the disease, including having a thin build or if they've gone through menopause.

What? Pap smear

Why? Detects cervical cancer.

When? Women should start this test as soon as they become sexually active, or at age 21, whichever comes first, until age 65.

Just for Men

What? Prostate screening

Why? The first step in detecting prostate cancer is a PSA screening.

When? Men 55 and older and those between 40 and 54 with at least one first-degree relative – a father or brother – who has had prostate cancer, should have a PSA.