It’s no surprise that as you age, your medical needs increase. But even if you look and feel great, it’s important that you are proactive in monitoring changes in your body, screening for certain diseases, and taking preventative measures to maintain your health. Based on extensive scientific evidence and clinical data, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest scheduling these routine health monitoring tests for seniors.
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations
According to the CDC, seniors should receive a flu shot every year, yet more than 31 percent of adults ages 65 and older reported not receiving an influenza vaccination in the past year. In addition to the influenza vaccine, seniors should get the pneumococcal vaccine, which protects against pneumonia, sinusitis, meningitis, endocarditis, pericarditis and inner ear infections.
Lipid Disorder Screening
A lipid disorder screening tests your blood’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Elevated blood lipids increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke. If your test indicates that you have unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, you can lower your cholesterol through a more balanced diet, simple lifestyle changes or medication.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
There are a few colorectal cancer screening methods. Every 10 years, you should get a colonoscopy, a test where a doctor uses a camera to scan your color for cancerous tissue growth. Every year, you should schedule a fecal occult blood testing. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, your doctor might recommend you schedule colorectal cancer exams more frequently. If caught early, colorectal cancer is highly treatable.
Breast Cancer Screening
Your risk for breast cancer increases with age, so women should get a mammogram at least every two years. If you have a family history of breast cancer, your doctor might recommend a clinical breast exam and an annual screening mammogram.
In addition to these core set of clinical preventive health monitoring services, other important preventive and screening measures for seniors include blood pressure check, eye exam, periodontal exam, hearing test, bone density scan, vitamin D test, thyroid-stimulating hormone screening, skin check, diabetes test, Pap smear and prostate cancer screening.
To monitor your blood pressure, blood sugar and weight in between annual checkups, consider ordering a senior health monitoring system, which not only tracks your health data and shares it with your doctors and caregivers but also schedules appointments and sends reminders for appointments.
Don’t forget to check with your doctor about any additional preventive services that can help you stay healthy at every stage of life.