Life is defined by benchmarks. Learning to ride a bicycle, buying your first car, and milestone birthdays signify new chapters in your journey. Healthy aging is also defined by important landmarks. The importance of a nutritious diet, regular cardiac exercise, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle all spring to mind when we think about aging. Fortunately, one of the most effective ways to maintain your health is also one of the easiest.
Regular check-ups with your primary care provider and making sure you undergo routine screening tests at benchmark ages are vital. Consistent medical testing detects potential problems like heart disease and cancer. Catching diseases early is the best way to mitigate potentially fatal complications.
While there are baseline recommendations for when certain screenings should begin, you should always discuss them with your doctor. Race, family history, and co-morbidities may make certain tests necessary at younger ages.
Everyone should have yearly physicals with their primary physician, regardless of gender or age. You should make sure the doctor checks your blood pressure, orders routine blood work, and performs a neurological examination.
Laboratory tests should measure glucose, cholesterol, and hormone levels depending on your age and family history. Uncontrolled high blood pressure elevates your risk of stroke and heart attack. Everyone should monitor their skin for new moles and other changes. Eye exams should be done every one to three years until the age of 60 and then yearly thereafter.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. The American Cancer Society recommends screening should begin at 45 years old via colonoscopy or another test recommended by your physician. In 2018, the ACS lowered the screening age from 50 due to rising rates of colorectal cancer. It is also important to maintain mental health. You should undergo yearly depression screening as part of your physical.
Screening for Men
Beyond the routine screening recommendations everyone should follow, men have specific tests they must undergo as they age. Self-examining the testicles for lumps should begin after puberty. Testicular cancer is most common under 30. As men age into their forties, testosterone levels should be monitored as part of annual blood work.
According to the CDC, males should begin regular prostate exams and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests between 55 and 69 depending on their doctor’s recommendation. Prostate cancer is highly treatable when detected early, underlining the benefit of routine testing. Bone Density screening should begin at 50. Hormonal changes with age may affect the bones, leaving men vulnerable to fracture.
Screening for Women
In addition to annual medical checkups, women should have a yearly gynecological exam to monitor for ovarian cancer, infections, and unexpected pregnancy. Guidelines endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend women between 21 and 29 undergo a Pap smear every three years. After age 30, they should have a Pap smear and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) screening every 5 years.
The frequency will depend on findings and family history. Early detection of breast cancer elevates survival rates. Women should begin self-examination of their breasts after puberty. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic suggest routine mammograms begin at 40, depending on family history, and continue annually. Bone density examination is important starting at 50 to monitor for osteoporosis.
The Power of Prevention
The risk of developing serious health problems rises with age. This makes consistent routine preventative medical care and health screening increasingly important. Early detection allows rapid treatment when medical problems are just beginning.
Proactive monitoring is the best way to maintain health, keeping you active as you age. For this and other healthcare tips based on age, consider consulting with experts, and only trust your elderly to qualified experts like those in these retirement villages in Sydney.