The 9 Must-Have Preventative Screenings Before Turning 40

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it's easy to overlook routine health check-ups, especially if you're feeling perfectly fine. However, preventative healthcare is essential for catching potential issues early and maintaining your well-being in the long run. Whether from a conventional or integrative medicine standpoint, prevention is the name of the game. These screenings not only provide valuable insights into your health but also empower you to make informed decisions about your continued longevity.

Why you should consider meeting with your doctor now

Preventative health screenings in your 30s are helpful to establish a healthy baseline. It's helpful to do this while all your body systems are functioning optimally, and while you have youth on your side.

As we age, our bodies go through various changes that can result in negative health consequences if not addressed promptly. If you have already noticed small (or significant) changes in your health, all the more reason to catch issues now, before they manifest as long-term or chronic health conditions.

Learn more: What to Expect with A Functional Medicine Doctor’s Visit

9 Important functional medicine prevention screenings

An integrative medicine doctor will take care to thoroughly evaluate your concerns, provide a detailed exam and patient history, and will likely prioritize giving you more time during your appointment.

Hormone testing

Hormones fluctuate naturally at certain points in life, especially for women (i.e. during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause), but a hormonal imbalance can occur at any age for both men and women.

Hormones play a crucial role in the body's overall functioning, so it's essential to keep them in check. Some symptoms of a hormone imbalance may include fatigue, weight gain or loss; for women, irregular periods, fertility struggles, and more.

A functional medicine provider may recommend the following when evaluation hormone health:

  • DUTCH Testing - Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones is one of the most accurate and comprehensive hormone tests available. It can measure your hormones and their metabolites over a 24-hour period, providing insight into how your body processes hormones.
  • One-Day Hormone Check is a saliva test during which samples collected over 24 hours are examined for levels of estradiol, estrone, estriol, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA, and melatonin.
  • AdrenoCortex Stress Profile - Salivary testing helps identify HPA axis dysfunction that may be the root cause for disease if not addressed early. This test is comprehensive–assessing cortisol diurnal rhythm, DHEA, and optional cortisol awakening response (CAR).

Read: Adrenal Dysfunction & Fatigue

Thyroid function

A staggering 10 to 20 percent of women in their thirties develop thyroid issues (mostly hypothyroidism), so testing your thyroid function before your 40s is a good idea (1). Some patients may experience thyroid symptoms even if the standard thyroid tests appear "normal" by conventional standards. An integrative provider typically evaluates results in a narrower—but more optimal—range to catch any changes early on. 

Testing your thyroid may involve a full thyroid panel, which includes:

  • TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) - often the first test used to assess thyroid function
  • Free-T3 and Free-T4 hormones - active forms of thyroid hormone that regulate metabolism and energy levels
  • Reverse T3 - a metabolite of thyroxine that may act as a "brake" on metabolism in certain situations
  • Thyroid antibodies - can indicate autoimmune thyroid disease, such as Hashimoto's or Graves' disease

Learn more: The Many Faces of Thyroid Disease

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Nutrient deficiency testing

Testing for nutrient status is often overlooked in conventional medicine, but it’s a crucial step in maintaining overall health and preventing chronic diseases. Nutrient deficiencies can occur even if you have a healthy diet, as absorption and metabolic processes differ among individuals based on genetics, toxin build-up, or certain drug side-effects.

  • Metabolomix+ analyzes key nutritional biomarkers for methylation, toxic exposure, mitochondrial dysfunction, fatty acid imbalances, and oxidative stress. Over time, imbalances in these areas can put you at risk for disease.

A first morning void (FMV) urine collection (with the option for blood spot finger stick and cheek swab) lets your provider know if you’re getting adequate antioxidants, B-vitamins, minerals, digestive support, fatty acids, and amino acids.

Cholesterol Panel

If you haven’t yet had your cholesterol checked by 35, you might be overdue if you have a family history of heart problems (2). In functional medicine, cholesterol panels are assessed a bit more differently than in conventional medicine.

While high LDL (the “bad” form of cholesterol) is associated with cardiovascular disease, it’s important to also look at the particle size and number of LDL particles. Small and dense particles tend to be more dangerous than larger ones, as they can more easily penetrate blood vessel walls and cause damage (3). A cholesterol panel that measures particle size and number can better predict the risk of heart disease.

Other factors such as inflammation, genetic predisposition, and hormonal imbalances can also contribute to high cholesterol levels, which may not be addressed in a standard cholesterol test.

Read: The Truth About Cholesterol & How to Lower Yours Naturally

Blood Sugar Screening

Nearly 1 in 3 people aged 30 and over are pre-diabetic (4), according to some estimates. If you have family members with diabetes, or other metabolic conditions, you should speak with your integrative provider about a blood sugar screening. This may include:

  • fasting insulin
  • fasting blood glucose
  • hemoglobin A1C

Body Composition

Depending on your body type, BMI may not be an accurate measure of your overall health. Body composition testing can assess the percentage of muscle, fat, and water in your body to determine a more accurate representation of your health.

Some tests that may be used include:

  • Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) – This scan uses two low-dose x-rays to provide information about bone density, muscle mass, and fat distribution in the body. It is considered one of the most accurate methods for measuring body composition.
  • Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) – This method uses a low-level electrical current to measure the resistance of different tissues in the body. Fat tissue has higher resistance than lean tissue, so it can estimate your body fat percentage. Learn more about InBody at CentreSpringMD.

Knowing your body composition can help you understand potential health risks and track progress towards a healthier body, beyond just the number on the scale.

Related: Learn more about weight management with integrative medicine.

Skin Cancer Screening

Whether you’re a recovering sun-bather, or always responsible with sunscreen use, skin cancer screenings are an important preventative measure for everyone. Catching suspicious spots early on can significantly increase the chances of successful treatment. Regular self-examinations and annual full-body skin exams with a dermatologist are recommended for those over 35.

Mental Health Screening

Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues continue to overwhelm many adults, but you don’t have to wait until you’re suffering to seek help. Learn to recognize the signs of concerning changes in your mood, and speak with your provider about the possible root causes of an increase in anxious thoughts or feelings of depression.

Annual Physical

Many patients believe they don’t need to see their doctor unless there’s something wrong. And while that approach may work for some, it doesn’t provide a lot of proactive action that can help put a stop to health concerns early!

We recommend seeing your family care doctor once a year to discuss any changes in your health, and re-evaluate your risk factors associated with diet, lifestyle, and family history.

Proactive health management is the key to living a healthy and happy life. These medical screenings help detect any underlying health issues before they become a larger concern. In functional medicine, the focus is not only on managing symptoms but also preventing chronic health conditions. By regularly screening for imbalances and deficiencies, an integrative provider can help you maintain optimal health and potentially prevent future diseases.




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