Dr. Oz says the best way to improve medical care is to make patients smarter. All patients should know what types of tests to ask for and what personal information they must share with their physician. What are the three things your doctor needs to know? First, be truthful about any and all vices. Then, tell your physician about any illnesses in your family. Finally, tell your doctor if any relatives died before age 65 and why.

Now that your physician has the facts, you should learn when to get tested. Dr. Oz shares the ideal age when you should begin getting tested for many serious health threats:

  • Age 12: Blood pressure test and, for men, testicular exam
  • Age 20: Cholesterol test
  • Age 21: For women, gynecology exam and pap smear (get tested earlier if sexually active)
  • Age 35: Blood sugar, anemia and thyroid exams
  • Age 40: For women, mammogram (start at age 25 if you have had two female relatives with breast cancer). Also, for men and women, skin exam by partner (take pictures of moles) and baseline electrocardiogram (a test that records the electrical activity of the heart)
  • Age 50: Colonoscopy (get one every five years). Also, for men, prostate test
  • Ages 50–60: Exercise stress test or coronary CTA (if obese or diagnosed with type 2 diabetes)
  • Ages 55–60: Thyroid-stimulating hormone blood test (used to detect problems affecting the thyroid gland); memory test (tell a complex story and repeat key points or have someone tell you a phone number and see if you can remember it—if you can't pick it out of a list of numbers, this could be a sign of early Alzheimer's disease)
Read an excerpt from Dr. Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen's book YOU: The Smart Patient


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