The best way to stay healthy beyond age 65 is to participate in regular screenings.
Health screenings catch problems early, before they require substantial care. Everyone should stay up-to-date on these important screenings.
Read on for screenings everyone should have routinely, including some male- and female-specific screenings. Don’t let your guard down beyond age 65. We want you to stay healthy and energized so you can enjoy all life has to offer for decades to come.
Routine Screenings Everyone Should Have
Blood Pressure Screening
High blood pressure is the top risk factor for heart disease. That’s why everyone should have their blood pressure checked once a year, preferably at a physician’s office. However, if you’re at increased risk for heart disease, you may need to have your blood pressure checked more often.
High cholesterol puts you at greater risk for heart disease and stroke. You should have your cholesterol checked at least every two years with a simple blood test. You may need your cholesterol checked more often, or at an earlier age, if any of these apply to you:
- Family history of heart disease
- High blood pressure
A blood test can check your blood glucose levels. If these levels are elevated, your doctor may order additional testing, such as an A1C test. This simple test uses a small sample of blood to determine your average blood sugar level over the last three months.
You should have your blood glucose levels checked every year during your annual wellness exam. Talk with your doctor about diabetes if you have any unusual, prolonged symptoms, such as:
- Frequent urination
- Severe thirst
- Tingling in your hands or feet
- Unexplained weight loss
While millions of people suffer from depression each year, many go untreated because of the negative stigma associated with mental illness. Left untreated, depression can affect both your mental and physical health, increasing your risk for heart disease and other serious health issues.
The screening takes only a few minutes and requires answering just a few questions for your physician. Your doctor may recommend a depression screening if you experience:
- Decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of hopelessness or irritability
- Less interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
If you have any thoughts of suicide, see a physician immediately.
Skin Cancer Screening
There are many factors that play into the screening schedule for preventive skin exams, so speak with your primary care provider or dermatologist to determine the schedule that’s right for you.
Undergoing regular skin exams enables your health care provider to track any worrisome moles, lumps or bumps you may have, along with identifying and treating early signs of skin cancer. There are also steps you can take regularly to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.
Even if you have 20/20 vision, eye exams can be a healthy step to ensure you can see well for longer. If you have an ophthalmologist, they should be familiar with your eye health and any changes in your vision. Ask them how often you should come in for a vision exam. If you don’t have an eye doctor, you can also ask your primary care physician at your annual physical about vision tests and when you should get them.
New recommendations from the American Cancer Society say all adults should receive their first colonoscopy at age 45 and then get screened once every ten years. Make sure to continue your screenings every decade.
While many of us dread a colonoscopy, it’s one of the most effective cancer screening tests available and has saved thousands of lives. New techniques make the preparation and test more comfortable than ever before while still delivering effective results.
Prostate Exam (Men)
Men over age 50 should undergo a prostate exam to check for signs of prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about your risk and schedule an exam.
You can be screened for prostate cancer in one of two ways. You can have a digital rectal exam where the physician feels your prostate for lumps or swelling. You can also have a blood test to check for prostate-specific antigens. Each test has benefits.
Screening Mammogram (Women)
You should have started getting your screening mammograms every year when you turned 40. Mammograms are perhaps the most well-known cancer screening tests. They’re fast, easy, inexpensive and painless — and mammograms save lives every year, so don’t skip out on your annual mammogram.
Mammogram technology has come a long way in recent years and is now available in 3D. The 3D mammograms and other imaging techniques like ultrasound and MRI are generally only required if your care provider needs to further investigate a tumor, cysts or dense breast tissue.
Pap Test (Women)
During your annual well-woman exam, your provider may perform a pelvic examination and a Pap test (also called a Pap smear).
In a Pap test, a brush or spatula is used to remove cells from the cervix. Follow-up testing reveals whether abnormal cells that could lead to cervical cancer are present. A Pap test shouldn’t be painful, but it may be uncomfortable.
Comprehensive Care for Everyone
An annual wellness exam is an important opportunity to connect with your doctor and discuss any health concerns you have. It also gives your provider the chance to order the health screenings you need to keep your body, mind and spirit strong.
Here to Keep You Well at Age 65 and Beyond
At AdventHealth Well 65+, we’ll partner with you to help you understand and manage health conditions and promote annual screenings, so you can stay well for years to come.
Reach out to your primary care provider to schedule your screenings today.