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Health Screenings in Your 40s: June 8, 2011

Many health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes are treatable, if not avoidable if caught early

Dr. Sal Lacagnina, who oversees Lee Memorial Health System’s Wellness Centers, believes hitting your 40s should signal that it’s time to start paying closer attention to your health. 

Along with an annual physical, he recommends a few additional tests.

“You really should start thinking about screening test for colon cancer especially if there's a family history,” Dr. Lacagnina says.

It’s also time to asses your heart health. Measuring your cholesterol may show your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Diabetes is another disease that can be screened by your doctor using a simple blood test.

When it comes to men’s health, this is the decade to start checking for prostate cancer.

“It's still a little controversial when, when to do the PSA's. But I find it helpful. I think a lot of physicians and providers find it helpful to do a PSA.”

Women in their 40s should include breast cancer screenings in their list of checkups.

“Between 40 and 50 they should have a baseline exam,” says Dr. Lacagnina, “you want to do it earlier when there's a strong family history of breast cancer.”

Women also need to keep up with their gynecological exams. Even if they’ve had a hyserectomy.

“If the uterus and cervix were removed but the ovaries are still intact the only way to screen for ovarian cancer is to do a physical exam,” says Dr. Lacagnina. 

Middle age starts the second half of life and is prime time to keep up with your health.