Our health needs change quite a bit as we age. Barring an emergency, most of us can get by on a yearly checkup when we’re young. But, as we grow older, it’s important we begin taking preventative health measures more seriously with these medical screenings.
While it’s easy to associate a visit to the doctor’s office with bad news, the opposite is actually true. By regularly consulting with your primary care physician and their staff, you’ll enable them to form an accurate and ongoing understanding of your medical needs. That understanding is vital to your staying healthy, active and independent for as long as possible.
Here are the healthcare benchmarks we should all strive for as we get older.
Health/Medical Screenings Starting at Age 40
Blood Pressure. The National Institutes of Health recommend that you get your blood pressure checked at least once a year beginning at age 40. In general, both men and women’s blood pressure should have a top number (systolic) of between 120 and a bottom number (diastolic) of 80.
If your blood pressure exceeds 120 over 80, your doctor will likely prescribe that you make changes to your lifestyle. If you do not take measures to lower your blood pressure, your can elevate your risk of contracting hypertension — a condition that can lead to the development of serious illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and kidney damage.
Cholesterol. After turning 40, you need to make a point of getting your cholesterol levels checked once every five years. A waxy substance found
in the fat that circulates through the blood, cholesterol is essential to the development of new cells. However, too much cholesterol in the blood can create heart attack-inducing artery blockages.
Eye Exam. You should have your eyesight checked every two years once you reach the age of 40. In addition to assessing the state of your vision, eye exams can also detect the early onset of illnesses such as glaucoma, a buildup of pressure in the eye that can lead to blindness.
Health/Medical Screenings Starting at Age 45
Diabetes. Although we often consider diabetes to a consequence of genetics or the result of being overweight, a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age. Accordingly, you should get your blood sugar levels checked every three years after the age of 45.
As diabetic adults are twice as likely to experience hearing loss as those who do not live with the disease, it’s also advisable that you schedule regular hearing tests for yourself once you reach your mid-40s.
Health/Medical Screenings Starting at Age 50
Bone Density. Once you turn 50, it’s essential that you get your bone density examined every two years. The most common form of bone disease in older individuals is osteoporosis. This condition causes your bones to become weak and brittle.
If you suffer from osteoporosis, doing something as simple as coughing or bending over can lead to a bone fracture. Early detection is essential to the effective treatment of osteoporosis. Women are especially susceptible and should make a bone density exam a high priority. Because women naturally have less dense bones than men, approximately half of the country’s female population will suffer a bone fracture after the age of 50.
Colon Cancer. While all adults with a family history of this disease should receive an annual colorectal screening, anyone over the age of 50 should be examined for colon cancer regularly. A stool occult blood test should be performed annually, a sigmoidoscopy every five years and a full colonoscopy every 10 years.
Health/Medical Screenings Starting at Age 55
Lung Cancer. If you are between the ages of ages 55 and 80 and have, at any point in your life, smoked at least 30 packs of cigarettes a year, the US Preventative Services Task Force recommends you undergo screening for lung cancer. You should also submit to an annual lung cancer screening if you have smoked or quit smoking within the past 15 years.
Eye Exam. As the risk of contracting glaucoma increases with age, individuals over the age of 55 should have their vision examined annually.
Hearing Loss. Nearly a quarter of the US population experiences some degree of hearing loss by the age of 55. As such, it’s a good idea to get your hearing checked once a year as you enter your mid-50s.
Being able to clearly hear and understand the sounds that make up your environment isn’t simply a matter of physical health. According to the Mayo Clinic, your hearing has a significant impact on your mental and emotional well-being as well. In fact, hearing tests can uncover a range of serious illnesses such as dementia, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease before they begin to severely affect your quality of life.
If you have concerns about your hearing, schedule an appointment at one of the 19 Hearing Aid Express locations across the State of Texas. Their friendly and experienced staff are ready to administer your hearing test today.