As you grow older, the need for regular general medical examination increases. You need to monitor changes in your body and be proactive about your health.
Regular general medical examination helps you to detect health problems before they start, help you to prevent them, and give you chances for early treatment and cure. It helps you to take charge of your health to increase your chances for living longer and healthier, by getting the right health services, screenings and treatments.
Some important tests that older adults need;
- Blood pressure check: A report by center for disease prevention and control (2016) shows that, 64 percent of men and 69 percent of women between the ages of 65 and 74 have high blood pressure. That is, one in every three adults has hypertension. It is important to check your blood pressure regularly as hypertension predisposes you to stroke and other heart diseases.
- Blood tests for lipids: High cholesterol or triglyceride levels also increases your chances of heart attack or stroke. Regular lipids tests will help keep it in check.
- Eye exam: Age increases the chances for eye diseases such as glaucoma or cataracts and other vision problems. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (2014) recommends a baselineeye disease screening for all aging adults from age 40.
- Hearing test: Hearing loss is also associated with ageing. It is advisable to do an audiogram every two to three years to check your hearing pitches and intensity levels.
- Periodontal Exam: According to CDC (2013) older adults may have new tooth decay at higher rates than children. Periodontal (gum) disease or tooth decay (cavities) are the most frequent causes of tooth loss. For good oral health, you are advised to visit a dentist for periodontal exam and twice yearly cleanings of your teeth.
- Bone Density Scan: Regular bone scans (to indicate bone strength) are recommended afterthe age of 65, especially for women. This will help to reduce your risk for osteoporosis.
- Diabetes test: It is recommended that everyone from the age of 45 should be screened for diabetes with a fasting blood sugar test or an A1C blood test.
- Prostate cancer screening: Possible prostate cancer can be detected either with a digital rectal exam or by measuring prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in your blood. It is advisable to go for prostate cancer screening from the age of 40.
- Mammogram: It is recommended by American Cancer Society that women between the ages of 45 to 54 should have a clinical breast exam and an annual screening mammogram.Especially those with family history of cancer.
- Pap smear: It helps to detect cervical or vaginal cancer. It is recommended for women especially those over age 65.
Note: Your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (such as what you eat, how active you are, whether you smoke), and other important factors impact what and how often you need healthcare.
Compiled by: Victoria Haruna, BSc. (Biochem), MPH (Health Promotion and education)
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Adult Oral Health. 2013
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention; High Blood Pressure Facts. 2016
- American Academy of Opthamology; Get screened at 40. 2014
- Healthline editorial Team and Debra Sullivan; The Health Tests Seniors Need. 2016