Maintaining good health becomes harder with age, which is why it is important to note vital medical exams. As patients enter their senior years, they must make sure to have routine checkups and tests done in order to remain healthy while againg. Luckily, many of these necessary doctor visits are covered under typical Medicare plans. Below, review 10 annual medical exams all seniors need to schedule on a regular basis.
- Blood Pressure Checks. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition that many people live with for a long time before they know something is wrong. But, given that it can leave you vulnerable to the likelihood of a stroke or a heart condition, it’s very important to have blood pressure levels checked by a medical professional regularly. If you need more motivation, consider that around 69 percent of women and 64 percent of men over the age of 65 have some degree of elevated blood pressure.
- Eye Exams. There are many eye diseases which are common with age, including glaucoma and cataracts. Any existing conditions are likely to worsen if not treated effectively, too, and those who already wear glasses could find that their prescriptions need updating. The good news is, your eye doctor can detect the signs of any issues before they progress as part of an annual exam.
- Hearing Tests. Just like sight, hearing is a vital sense, and one which can be prone to issues during our senior years. Loss of hearing is undoubtedly a natural part of aging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do things about it. Most causes of hearing loss are treatable, so a regular audiogram exam will allow you to keep on top of any infections or changes as they happen.
- Weight and Cholesterol Checks. Keeping track of your weight is even more important in later life. As your metabolism slows, you will find you can burn calories less efficiently, and we all know that being overweight can lead to a multitude of complications, including increased cholesterol levels. Sure, you can tell yourself that you will use the scale in your bathroom, or that you feel as fit and healthy as you ever did, but it may not be the case. Ask your doctor to check things like your BMI, your weight and your cholesterol, and then, sensible recommendations can be made.
- Vaccinations. You should get a Tetanus shot every 10 years, and a u shot is also recommended on a yearly basis for seniors and those with chronic illnesses. Also, speak to your physician about having a pneumococcal vaccination, as this could protect you against pneumonia, meningitis, inner ear infections and other serious conditions.
- Bone Density Scans. Did you know that around 75 million people across Japan, Europe and the U.S are affected by osteoporosis? An annual bone density scan can pick up any signs in the development of the condition. This is especially recommended for women, who are more prone to osteoporosis and associated bone-weakness issues.
- Diabetes Checks. Diabetes checks should take place for everyone at age 45, but it is wise to have more regular checks after age 65. There are medications, supplements and dietary changes you can make to keep a diabetes diagnosis under control. In 2012, a total of 29.1 million people in the U.S. had type 2 Diabetes, so this is a real concern to consider.
- Cancer Checks. Men and women should be checked for colorectal cancer regularly, starting at age 50, until they are 75 years of age. There are several types of screenings available. Speak to your doctor to see which one would be best for you.Women over the age of 65 should prioritize the following cancer checks:
- Pap smear tests (plus pelvic exam, which can be completed at the same time). This will check for vaginal and cervical cancers, which can still occur in later life.
- Breast cancer checks (plus mammogram). The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, so this is an important one for senior women.
Men over the age of 65 should prioritize regular prostate cancer screenings. Depending on your medical history, having regularly check-ups earlier rather than later is a good idea. Speak to your doctor about when it would be a good idea for you to start doing so.
- Periodontal Checks. Oral health is always important to maintain, but even more so in the elder years. You may also be surprised to learn that medications commonly taken by seniors (including antidepressants and diuretics) can have side effects that impact dental health. An annual X-ray will keep the emergence of any such issues in check.
- Vitamin D Checks. As humans age, we are less able to successfully synthesize Vitamin D in our bodies. And, given how important it is for protecting bones against the likes of osteoporosis, an annual check-up is advisable. You may need nothing more than a supplement to keep yourself healthy and all systems functioning well.