No matter how young we feel at heart, reaching a certain age means that we have to take better care of our health. If you’ve recently turned 60, you’re probably looking into the tests that you should be doing to ensure you are healthy for a few more decades. Here is what you should not skip.
1. Eye tests
While you should get your eyes checked out even at a younger age, certain eye diseases like cataracts and glaucoma are known to appear with age. If you already wear glasses or contacts, you should get an annual vision screening. In case you don’t, every other year should be okay but check with your doctor to stay on the safe side.
2. Hearing tests
While hearing loss is a natural part of aging for many people, it can also be caused by an infection or some medical condition. As most hearing loss is treatable, you should get an audiogram every two to three years to be able to react on time.
3. Periodontal exam
Medications like antidepressants, antihistamines, and diuretics can have a negative effect on your dental health. So, if you’re taking any of these, you want to pay special attention to your teeth. To prevent losing natural teeth, have a periodontal exam once a year. With the help of an X-ray, the dentist will inspect your mouth, gums, teeth, and throat for any signs of a problem.
4. Bone density
Osteoporosis affects 75 million people in Japan, Europe, and the USA, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Even though both men and women are at risk, women more often develop this condition. Having a bone density scan will measure your bone mass and show you if you need to be concerned.
5. Skin check
Skin cancers can take more than 20 years to develop, which is why you want to check your skin on a regular basis. If you notice any new moles and changes in your skin, don’t panic and have a doctor take a look as most skin cancers can be treated. Moreover, schedule a full-body exam with a dermatologist once a year.
6. Brain scan
As seniors can be affected by various brain conditions like myopathy, neuropathy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease, you can also consider getting a brain scan once you reach 60. Although exercise, healthy eating, sleeping well, and managing stress can all help slow down brain aging, you are still at risk of these neurological disorders so talk to a neurologist.
7. Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening is used to check if you have a bulge or swelling in the aorta using an ultrasound. This is painless, very reliable, and can save your life. Although AAA is more common in men, you can ask to get tested regardless of gender if you think you might need it.
8. Blood pressure
Even if your blood pressure is normal right now, you still want to have it checked by a healthcare expert every year. If it’s currently higher than normal or you have some other risk factors, you might need to get checked out more often. Not only can high blood pressure affect your heart but your arteries, brain, kidneys, and eyes as well.
9. Diabetes screening
Diabetes screening is something else you should not skip. If you’re healthy, getting checked out every three years is just fine. However, if you have any risk factors for diabetes, discuss with your provider if you need to be screened more often.
10. Cholesterol screening
A major reason why people suffer heart attacks and strokes, high cholesterol levels can be treated. In order to find out if you should adjust your diet and start taking medications, remember to measure your levels of cholesterol.
11. Colorectal cancer exam
After you turn 50, it’s recommended to get a colonoscopy every 10 years as it can discover if you have any cancerous polyps in the colon. A digital rectal exam is also available, which checks only the lower part of the rectum. This type of cancer is highly treatable if caught on time.
Women over 55 are recommended to have a breast exam and mammogram every two years. In case you have a family history of breast cancer, your physician might suggest an annual screening.
13. Pap smear, pelvic exam, and HPV
Something else women in their 60s need is regular Pap smears, HPV tests, and pelvic exams as they can get cervical cancer or vaginal cancer. Plus, a pelvic exam can help improve your health and quality of life by detecting some other conditions.
In addition to these 13, you should still get regular physical checkups and stay up-to-date on your vaccines.