As we age, our bodies change. While the specifics of how and when our bodies change vary based on genetics and lifestyle, one fact is certain: change is coming.
This is why regular checkups are so important for adults over 65. When it comes to your health, information is power — and health screenings can reveal information you might have missed. Even if nothing goes wrong, the examination is still important because it forms the basis for your personal health. This helps healthcare providers know your normal readings, making it easier to see if your body functions are changing. By scheduling regular health checkups with your doctor to screen for various conditions and illnesses, you can take a proactive approach to staying healthy.
So what screenings are important to plan? What are some recommended health checks that can help you live a longer and healthier life? To help you answer those questions, here are 12 of the recommended screenings for adults over 65:
12 Recommended Health Checks for Healthy Aging
1 Check Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure – also known as hypertension – is very common among older people. Statistics show that 64% of men and 69% of women between the ages of 65 and 74 suffer from high blood pressure. Given how common it is, you might think that high blood pressure isn’t that serious. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. High blood pressure increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. If left undetected, it can lead to death without the patient even knowing something is wrong. With regular checkups, you can identify high blood pressure early and take steps to treat iat before it’s too late.
2 Cholesterol Checks
Regular lipid blood tests will show your cholesterol and triglyceride levels – and whether lifestyle changes or medication are needed to improve them. Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack, so keeping them at the right levels is important.
3 Bone Density Scan
To detect early signs of fracture or osteoporosis, have regular bone density scans – starting at age 65 if you are a woman, as you are more likely to develop bone loss.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in adults, so doctors recommend having your first screening at age 50 and then every five years until age 75.
After age 65, women should continue to have mammograms every two years to detect breast cancer or other breast-related health problems.
6 Screening for Prostate Cancer:
Men with an average risk of prostate cancer should undergo regular screening from the age of 50; if they are at a higher risk (for example, a family history of the disease), they should start between the ages of 40 and 45.
7 Screening for Type 2 Diabetes
Any adult with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, high weight, and/or a family history of diabetes should be screened for diabetes at least every three years.
8 Hearing Tests
Various conditions or infections can cause hearing loss, a condition that is common in older people. Have an audiogram every two to three years to make sure you catch problems early.
9 Eye Exams
If you wear contact lenses or glasses, you will need an annual eye exam. But even if you don’t wear contact lenses or glasses, it’s a good idea to see an eye doctor, usually every two years. Having a simple eye exam at age 40 can provide something to measure age-related vision changes. Likewise, many older adults struggle with glaucoma, cataracts, and/or other vision problems that can be found through screening.
10 Dental Check-up
Taking care of your teeth becomes more important as you get older, especially if you are on medication. Certain medications can affect the health of your teeth. So if you are taking antidepressants, diuretics, and/or antihistamines, you should prioritize twice-a-year cleanings and yearly X-rays.
11 Skin Screening
In America, more than five million people are treated for skin cancer every year. If you notice a new or strange mole, you should always have it checked. Likewise, an annual dermatological exam can help identify warning signs of a disease.
12 Vitamin D Testing
Because so many people are vitamin D deficient, annual testing can help to make sure you have adequate levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D protects bone health and helps protect the body from many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
If you are an elderly person who wants to stay in shape, talk to your doctor about this general checkup and make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in it. By staying in tune with what’s going on in your body, you’ll be better able to spot problems at an early stage.
AUTHOR BIO: Robert W. Bache (aka “Medicare Bob”) is the founder and Chief of Sales for Senior Healthcare Direct, an AmeriLife company. As an independent insurance broker, Bache and his team provide unbiased assistance to current and soon-to-be Medicare beneficiaries — helping them navigate, compare and find the right Medicare plan options. Bache’s agency, Senior Healthcare Direct, works with 30-plus companies and has served tens of thousands of clients in more than 40 states.
This infographic was created by Senior Healthcare Direct, medicare advantage programs