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Minority Health: Know Your Numbers

Minority Health: Know Your Numbers

As a minority female and health care practitioner, it is essential to my community and me to know our numbers. April is Minority Health Equity Month. I am honored to have this moment to introduce to some and remind others about preventative health screenings recommended to prevent or reverse the effects of illnesses like cancer and to control chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Individuals should have Annual health screenings conducted every year of their life. Annual screenings typically include:
Weight and Height: Annually
Blood Pressure: Annually
Cholesterol Check: Annually, if there are known risk factors; otherwise, every five years.
Skin Screening: For lesions or moles that look suspicious.
Historical illness screenings: For known family medical issues such as heart conditions, diabetes, and cancer.
Diabetes Screening: Annually if there are known risk factors; otherwise, bi-annually if BMI is greater than 25 or other lifestyle factors are present.
Depression Screening

Blood Work Is done annually and may include the following:

  • HDL and LDL cholesterol
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Basic or Complete Metabolic Panel
  • Thyroid panel
  • Liver Enzyme Markers
  • Sexually Transmitted Disease Tests
  • Plasma Glucose

Extra Screenings for Women
Cervical Cancer Screening: Pap smears every three years. If a hysterectomy occurs, then no pelvic exam may be necessary.
The HPV Vaccine: If not received as an adolescent but under 26.
Breast Exam: You should perform a self-exam at home monthly and by a clinical provider yearly.
Sexually Transmitted Infections: Depending on lifestyle or patient request. It may include HIV, HPV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or other infections.
Extra Screenings for Men:
Sexually Transmitted Infections: Depending on lifestyle or patient request. It may include HIV, HPV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or other infections.
Testicular Exam: Home self-exams should be done monthly or by a clinical provider yearly.
By age 40 plus other screenings, in addition to your annual screenings, should be conducted to detect or prevent life-threatening illnesses or chronic conditions.
Colorectal Screening: Age 45 and up if you are African American unless other risk factors exist.
Colonoscopy: May be needed based on medical history.
Osteoporosis Screening: Age 50 and up with risk factors. One of the risk factors is early menopause or perimenopause by age 50. Age 65 if no risk factors.
Lung Cancer Screening: Annually if a past smoker.
Depression Screening: Mental health assessment.
Mammogram: Age 40 and up annually or bi-annually based on your risk factors. However, screening can begin for women with genetic mutations by age 25. For women with a family history of breast cancer, screening is often initiated ten years earlier than the first affected member of the family.
Pelvic Exam: Physical exam and pap smear every three years or more frequently based on history and risk factors.
Prostate Exam: Age 45 and up for African- American men and men whose first-line relatives (father or brother) were diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65.
Fall Prevention Screening: For adults 65 years and older as a baseline and then as needed.
If you do not have a primary care provider due to a lack of insurance or financial resources, please check out your local health department, which can assist you with getting a clinical provider and obtaining free or low-cost insurance. Some other resources where you can receive your essential biometric screening(Weight, blood pressure, cholesterol level, and some Sexually Transmitted Disease checks) are your local community health fairs.
Health and wellness is my passion, and I would love to be your online resource. Sign up for my newsletters and check out my blogs on everything, health and wellness at You can also find me at,,, and

Breast Cancer in Young Women by
Complete guide to annual health screenings by age by Columbia Doctors Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Group


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