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Regular health checks and screenings, in combination with a healthy diet and regular physical activity, can assist in the prevention of disease or illness. Recommendations are made for how often you should have a blood pressure, cholesterol, Cervical Screening Test, blood sugar, breast, skin and immunisation review.

Below is a list of the tests you should consider having. We have briefly listed what you are testing for, why you need to test and when to test; and for heart and cardiovascular health, the healthy limits for women.

The government offers a '45-49-year-old health check' – a once-only check with your doctor for those at risk of developing a chronic disease.

The complete range of medical checks and screening procedures required throughout life will vary for every person, depending on individual risks, medical background and family history. Talk to your doctor about what tests you require to maintain your health.

Topics on this page

Heart & cardiovascular health

Blood pressure (BP)

Why: To check it's not too high

Normal: 130/80 mmHG

How often: Every 2 years, then every year after you turn 50

Cholesterol

Why: To check it's not too high

Normal: Below 6.0

How often: Every 5 years, unless at higher risk, then maybe every 1 or 2 years

Body mass index (BMI)

Why: To measure the best weight for your health

Normal: 20-25

How often: Every 2 years, then every year after you turn 50

Ovaries & uterus health

Cervical Screening Test

Why: The Cervical Screening Test looks for the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can cause changes to cells in your cervix, which in rare cases can develop into cervical cancer

When: Between the ages of 25 and 74

How often: Your first Cervical Screening Test is due two years after your last Pap test. After that, you will need to have the test only every five years if your results are normal

Ovarian cancer screening

Why: Screen for changes in the ovary indicating ovarian cancer

When: If you are at risk due to family history, or experiencing symptoms

How often: As your doctor advises

Blood sugar

Glucose (sugar) check

Why: Testing for diabetes

When: If you are overweight, or at risk of diabetes

How often: Every year if at high risk, otherwise every 3 years

Breast health

Breast self-check

Why: To check for changes that may indicate breast cancer

When: From your 20s onwards

How often: Every month

Mammogram

Why: Screening for breast cancer

When: If you are:

  • over 40 with a family history of breast cancer
  • over 50

How often: Every 2 years

Bladder & bowel health

Bowel cancer test

Why: Screening for bowel cancer

When: If you:

  • have a family history of bowel cancer
  • are over 50

How often: Every 2 years

Urine test

Why: To assess kidney health

When: If you are over 50

How often: Every year

Sexual health

Sexually transmissible infection (STI) check, including chlamydia

Why: Screening for STIs

When: Before a new partner, or if a change of partner

How often: As required

Bone health

Bone health review

Why: Screening for osteoporosis

When: If you are over 50

How often: As your doctor advises

Skin health

Skin examination

Why: Screening for skin cancer

When: If you are 40-60

How often: Every year

Eyes, ears & dental health

Eye examination

Why: Testing vision, macular and retina health

When: If you are 40-60

How often: Every year

Hearing test

Why: Testing for deterioration

When: If you notice any symptoms

Dental examination and cleaning

Why: Testing for tooth decay and gum disease

When: If you are 40-60

How often: Every year

Mental & emotional health

Mental health check

Why: Testing for anxiety, depression

When: If you are experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, irritability or sadness

How often: As needed

Fertility

Reproductive health check

Why: Looking for factors that may affect the health of mother or baby

When: If you are looking to become pregnant

How often: When you are thinking of/beginning to try to conceive

Immunisation review

Checking your immunity

Why

  • Influenza virus strains can change each year, which means annual influenza vaccination is needed to provide protection against the most recent virus
  • Some immunisations can wear off after a long time, so you may need booster shots

When

  • Influenza if at risk
  • Tetanus and Diptheria age 50
  • Whooping cough if in contact with young children

How often

  • Every year for influenza
  • As directed by your doctor




This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at October 2018.

Last updated: 16 January 2020 | Last reviewed: 11 October 2018

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