Health Milestones: A Yearly Calendar For Your Routine Check-Ups and Examinations

Taking care of your health is a lifelong journey that requires diligence, patience, and proactivity. From routine check-ups to recommended screenings, there are essential health milestones to monitor every month. A yearly health calendar can help you stay on top of preventative care based on age, gender, risk factors, and medical history. 

This comprehensive guide goes month-by-month, outlining key health priorities, exams, and lifestyle habits recommended for optimal well-being. With a clear roadmap of annual health milestones, you can work closely with your healthcare providers to detect problems early, manage chronic conditions, and maintain your best health possible.

January: Start the Year Right With A Check-Up

As the new year begins, it’s wise to schedule a visit with your primary care physician for an annual physical exam. This exam encompasses various tests, screenings, and discussions about your medical history and any health concerns. Here’s what it typically involves:

  • Blood Work: Blood tests will be ordered to check cholesterol, blood sugar, kidney and liver function, nutrient levels, and other indicators of your internal health.
  • Physical Examination: Your heart, lungs, eyes, ears, mouth, skin, and body mass index (BMI) will be examined.
  • Additional Tests: Based on your age, gender, and personal risk profile, immunizations, cancer screenings, and additional testing may be scheduled.

The annual physical exam sets the tone for a healthy year by identifying emerging issues that can be managed early. It’s also a chance to discuss any lifestyle changes you hope to make in the coming months regarding nutrition, fitness, stress management, and preventative care. By taking these steps, you’re setting the stage for a healthier year ahead.

February: Show Your Heart Some Love

The second month of the year turns the focus on heart health. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Therefore, it’s recommended to schedule a thorough cardiac screening in February, particularly if you have risk factors, such as high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, family history, or high blood pressure. 

Here are some heart health tests to discuss with your doctor:

  • Lipid Panel: This test checks your total cholesterol, High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides. It’s an important part of assessing your cardiovascular risk.
  • Blood Pressure Screening: Regular blood pressure screenings can help detect hypertension early, which is crucial as it often has no symptoms but can lead to serious heart problems.
  • Electrocardiogram: Also called EKG, this test records the electrical activity of your heart to uncover any arrhythmias. These irregular heart rhythms can affect how effectively your heart is pumping blood.
  • Echocardiogram: This test uses ultrasound to examine your heart’s structure and function. It can help diagnose various heart conditions, from valve problems to heart failure.
  • Stress Test: A stress test monitors your EKG while you exercise to assess how your heart functions under strain. It can help identify issues that might not be noticeable at rest.

Maintaining a strong heart involves keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels healthy through diet, exercise, medication, and avoiding tobacco. It’s also vital to learn the subtle signs of a heart attack so you can seek emergency care quickly if needed. You may click here for more tips on heart health and where to find comprehensive care.

March: Celebrate Women’s Health

In honor of Women’s History Month, March is an ideal time to prioritize women’s health screenings and check-ups. Here are some key health checks and discussions to consider:

  • Annual Well-Woman Exam: Schedule your annual well-woman exam with your OB/GYN. This comprehensive assessment includes a breast exam, pelvic exam, Pap test, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) screening, and discussions about your menstrual cycle, contraception, and menopause. This visit is also a good opportunity to get up to date on appropriate vaccines.
  • Mammogram: If you’re between the ages of 50 and 74, consider scheduling a mammogram to screen for breast cancer. While recommendations can vary, annual mammograms are generally considered the best detection method for women at average risk in this age group. 

Let’s celebrate Women’s History Month by taking proactive steps toward maintaining and improving women’s health. 

April: Assess Your Mental Health

April is a time to bring mental health awareness to the forefront. Just like physical health, mental well-being requires proactive care and monitoring. Here are some steps you can take to assess and improve your mental health:

  • Meet With A Mental Health Professional: Schedule a full evaluation with a mental health professional. Discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing related to depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, addiction, eating disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and other conditions.
  • Use Screening Tools: Tools like depression and anxiety questionnaires can help assess your mental health status. 
  • Consider Counseling or Psychotherapy: If recommended by a professional, consider beginning counseling or psychotherapy. These therapeutic approaches can provide strategies to manage and overcome mental health challenges.
  • Explore Stress Management Techniques: Discover techniques that help you cope with day-to-day stress. This could include mindfulness, exercise, journaling, or other practices that promote relaxation and mental clarity.

There’s no stigma in seeking help for mental health issues. Taking small steps to care for your mind this April can enhance your overall outlook and well-being.

May: Protect Your Skin

As summer approaches, it’s time to focus on skin health. Consider scheduling a full-body skin exam with your dermatologist. During this exam, they’ll check any moles or growths for irregularities that may indicate skin cancer. This visit is also an opportunity to point out any suspicious spots or changes you’ve noticed on your skin for evaluation.

Catching melanoma early is crucial, so don’t hesitate to consult your dermatologist if you notice anything unusual.

It’s also vital to prioritize sun safety. Protect your skin from sun damage by applying broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen daily, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding prolonged sun exposure during peak hours.

June: Make Eye Health A Priority

In addition to protecting your skin, don’t neglect your eyes this summer. It’s advisable to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to assess your vision, screen for common eye diseases, and evaluate ocular health. Your ophthalmologist will examine the anatomy of your eyes and perform tests to check visual acuity, depth perception, color vision, eye alignment, and eye movement.

Discuss any changes in vision, pain, discharge, excessive dryness, or other eye concerns that could indicate conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy.

Don’t take healthy eyesight for granted. Regular eye exams can safeguard your sight.

July: Tune Up Your Digestive System

In July, the focus is on maintaining a healthy digestive system through proper nutrition, hydration, and medical care. Here are some key screenings to discuss with a gastroenterologist or primary doctor, especially if you’re over 50:

  • Colonoscopy: This procedure examines the entire colon for polyps or cancer. It’s essential in the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer.
  • Fecal Occult Blood Test: This test screens for hidden blood in the stool, which may indicate cancer. 
  • Endoscopy: This procedure examines the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract for ulcers, cancers, and other issues.

Be vigilant about symptoms associated with digestive conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis, ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and colitis. Report any unusual abdominal pain, changes in digestive patterns, rectal bleeding, weight loss, or other concerns to your healthcare provider promptly. Ignoring the warning signs that the digestive system needs attention could lead to serious health issues.

August: Strengthen Your Bones

In August, the focus shifts to bone health, highlighting the importance of strong bones to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and debilitating fractures. Consider the following screenings:

  • DEXA Bone Density Scan: A DEXA bone density scan determines your bone mass compared to the ideal peak density. Your doctor can then assess your risk for fracture and diagnose osteoporosis if indicated.
  • Baseline Bone Density Scans: It’s recommended for women 65 and over and men 70 and older to get baseline bone density scans. Individuals at risk may need to start screenings sooner based on factors like menopause, family history, nutrition concerns, and steroid use.

It’s also beneficial to get adequate calcium and vitamin D daily, alongside regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises. Additionally, avoid behaviors like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption that can deplete bone density.

Don’t wait for a fracture to occur to take bone health seriously. 

September: Manage Stress For Well-being

As Fall ushers in cooler weather and busier schedules focus on stress management. Chronic stress can take a toll on your physical and mental health. It’s recommended to have an open discussion with your primary care provider about your stress levels. Discuss how prolonged anxiety may be affecting your blood pressure, immune system, digestive system, heart health, and mood.

Explore stress-busting practices like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, journaling, and massage. Regular exercise and spending time outdoors in nature can also be therapeutic. 

Furthermore, identify and manage unnecessary stressors in your life. Never underestimate the benefits that stress reduction can provide to your overall health.

October: Screen For Common Cancers

Breast Cancer Awareness Month puts the spotlight on cancer screening in October. In addition to mammograms for breast cancer detection, discuss with your healthcare providers whether you need screening for prostate cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, or other common cancer types this month based on your risk profile.

Cancer screening aims to diagnose cancer in the earliest stages before symptoms occur. Early detection, along with proper treatment, boosts survival rates and outcomes. Do monthly self-exams as well for signs of cancer like skin changes, breast lumps, lymph node swelling, unusual pain, and unexplained weight loss. 

Listen to your body and get screened appropriately.

November: Promote Lung Health 

As colder weather and flu season put more strain on your respiratory system in November, it’s crucial to focus on maintaining healthy lungs. The tests that may be recommended by your primary care provider or pulmonologist include:

  • Spirometry: This test measures airflow and lung function, providing valuable information about your respiratory health.
  • Chest X-ray: A chest x-ray helps identify any potential lung issues or abnormalities.
  • CT Scan: Cross-sectional Computed Tomography (CT) images can help identify lung diseases.
  • Pulse Oximetry: This test monitors the oxygen saturation levels in your blood and assesses how well your lungs are functioning.

Discuss any coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or difficulty breathing to determine if a respiratory illness is present. Consider getting an annual flu shot to protect yourself from respiratory infections. Continue practicing proper handwashing and avoid tobacco products, if possible. This will help keep your lungs in top working order all winter long.

December: Reflect and Set Goals

As the year comes to a close, set aside some time to reflect on your health and wellness over the past 12 months. Consider what lifestyle habits served you best and what changes you can make for improvement. Look over the calendar of health milestones and take note of any screening or exams you missed or are due for in the coming year. Addressing gaps in care now means you can start the new year out on the right foot.

Have an open discussion at your annual physical about which health screenings and immunizations should be on your radar for the upcoming year. 

Furthermore, share your reflections on the past year’s challenges and successes with your provider. They can help you establish attainable health goals in the coming year. Whether it’s losing weight, quitting smoking, participating in cancer screening, improving your mental health, or better managing a chronic condition, you have the power to make positive health changes.


Caring for your health is an ongoing journey, requiring proactive steps and regular check-ups. This yearly calendar of health milestones isn’t just a schedule; it’s a strategy to detect and manage health issues early, ensuring you stay on top of your wellness. It highlights the importance of continuous engagement with healthcare providers and adapting lifestyle habits for your well-being.

Consider this guide as your roadmap for a health-focused year, emphasizing preventive care and personalized attention to your health needs. While this guide provides a general overview, it’s essential to consult with your physician or other qualified health provider for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment tailored to your specific circumstances.

As you move through each month, remember that every proactive step taken is a stride toward optimal health. 

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