Must-Have Medical Screenings as You Grow Older
As you grow older, you should begin looking into medical screenings that are considered must-haves for your age group. Those who are over fifty years old have to pay closer attention to blood pressure, cholesterol, and a large amount of other important functions for your body.
Although some of these screenings may not be something you want to do, getting the right tests done can help catch problems early and can lead to a longer and healthier life.
Colonoscopies are never high on anyone’s to do list, but they should be. A colonoscopy is the test often used to search for colon cancer in both men and women.
It also allows for a doctor to see any subtle bleeding that may be occurring without your knowledge. For males, a colonoscopy can also alert your doctor if you have prostate cancer.
As you get older, it’s important that you don’t slack on breast exams. Starting at the age of forty, women should have regular mammograms done once a year, although some doctors advise it less frequently now.
The risk of breast cancer increases with age, so skipping out on breast exams and mammograms can cause a serious health risk. If you have a family history of breast cancer, your doctor may suggest an exam twice a year instead of just once.
As you age, your bones can weaken and begin to lose density. This is why it’s important you take a bone density test as you grow older. These tests are usually recommended for men and women who are over sixty, but if you’re at a higher risk, it may be needed before that age.
One of the high risk factors is osteoporosis, a condition where bones become brittle. When you have osteoporosis, you’re more likely to fracture or break bones, making a bone density test even more important. With this condition, a fall when you’re older can be more serious.
For women, a pap smear may be just as important as a breast exam or mammogram. Women in their fifties and sixties are just as susceptible to cervical cancer as young women are.
Pap smears are recommended for women every two years regardless of whether or not you’re sexually active. These screenings aren’t just for cancer – they can also help your doctor check for irregular bleeding or other problems.
One of the most important tests, a cholesterol screening, should not be omitted from a physical checkup. Men are more prone to high cholesterol, but studies show that women over the age of fifty tend to develop high cholesterol over the years. High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes. As you grow older, make sure your cholesterol levels are checked periodically.