Health screenings for seniors are important for optimal health
Basic health screenings, tests that may catch problems before symptoms start, are one of the best ways to help maintain good health. Preventative health care and health screenings for seniors, who are considered to be people aged 65 and older. They can help prevent falls — a common problem among older people that can lead to serious injury or death.
Annual physical exams with a trusted provider are recommended for all older adults — even for people who have no chronic medical conditions and maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular physical activity and a good diet.
Recommended health screenings for seniors
If you already have a history of high blood pressure, you will need to check your blood pressure regularly. Otherwise, follow this guideline:
- Men aged 65 and older should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years.
- Women aged 65 and older should have it checked at least once a year.
- A blood test to screen for cholesterol is recommended every five years for older adults — or more frequently if you have risk factors.
- Diabetes screening is recommended every three years, if results are normal.
Infectious disease screenings, especially for hepatitis C, are also recommended at least once, and if you or a loved one has chronic health conditions or certain lifestyle factors, you may need these screenings more often.
- Regular colorectal cancer screening is recommended for everyone starting at age 45. If you have a history of cancer or polyps, more frequent screening may be necessary. Adults aged 85 and older no longer need colorectal screenings.
- Lung cancer screening is recommended once a year for adults aged 50 to 80 who have a long history of smoking, currently smoke, or recently quit.
- Prostate cancer screening is recommended for men aged 50 to 69, although it's a choice you and your provider should make.
- Women should talk with their providers about breast and cervical cancer screenings. Mammograms are recommended for most women every one to two years until age 75. Most women without a history of cervical cancer don't need Pap tests after age 65.
- Women aged 64 and older should have a bone density test, also
known as a DEXA scan, to check for osteoporosis.
- Men aged 70 or older with risk factors for osteoporosis should also be screened.
Regular exercise and eating a healthy diet may lower risk of osteoporosis in both women and men.
Dental cleanings and exams once or twice a year are a good idea. A healthy mouth lowers the risk of bone loss, tooth decay, and developing other health problems such as heart disease.
Eye exams are recommended every one to two years for older adults. Your provider may recommend more frequent exams if you have diabetes or other health conditions that can affect eye health.
Hearing tests are highly recommended for older adults, especially for people with symptoms of hearing loss. According to the National Institutes of Health, 1 in 3 seniors experience hearing loss.
Full-body skin exams are recommended annually to look for signs of skin cancer. This is especially important for people with a personal or family history of skin cancer or immune system issues. Catching problems early increases your chance for better treatment outcomes.
You have control over your health
Older adults may have different preferences and feelings about getting health screens, but they really can make a positive difference. Research shows health screenings for seniors can improve quality of life and longevity. So, visit regularly with a provider to ensure you're getting the care and attention you need to live your best life.
Talk with a Reid Health PACE provider about getting into a customized preventative health care and routine screening program.