As you age, the risk for chronic disease increases. If you’re age 65 or older, you need to have these important screenings:
Sixty-nine percent of people who have a first heart attack and 77% who have a first stroke have high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Have your blood pressure checked at least once every year.
Women age 65 and older account for almost 50% of new breast cancer cases, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) reports. Screening mammograms are recommended at least every two years starting at age 55.
Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke and one over which you have some control. Having a cholesterol screening at least every five years, or more often if you have high cholesterol or other health problems, is recommended.
Two-thirds of new colorectal cancer cases occur in people age 65 and older, according to the AAFP. There are several tests for colorectal cancer, including colonoscopy, which is recommended at age 50 for people of average risk and, if polyps are not found, just once every 10 years thereafter.
Twenty-five percent of Americans age 65 and older have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Get screened for diabetes every three years or more often if you have risk factors for the disease.
This disease is a major concern for women—half will sustain an osteoporosis-related bone break during their lifetime—but it also effects a significant number of men. As many as 25% of men will break a bone because of osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Women older than age 64 should have a bone density scan, and men should ask their physician if it’s appropriate for them.
The basic metabolic panel (BMP)—a collection of blood tests—provides information about your body chemistry. Here are three things to know about the BMP:
- Eight tests are included. They are tests for glucose, calcium, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine—types of waste filtered from the blood by the kidneys—and four kinds of electrolytes. The BMP provides information about metabolism, such as the function of certain organs, especially the kidneys, and pH balance.
- You may encounter the BMP in a variety of settings. Medical providers may order the BMP as part of a physical exam, during hospitalization or in the emergency room, where it can help them pinpoint the cause of acute symptoms. You may have to fast for 8 to 12 hours before the BMP if it’s part of a scheduled appointment.
- When interpreting results, the big picture is important. If one test result is abnormal, medical providers will consider it in the context of the other results in the panel, as well as your medical history, to determine significance and next steps, such as a follow-up test.
Women who are older than age 65 don’t need to continue having Pap tests that screen for cervical cancer, if they’ve been tested regularly during the past 10 years and results have been normal, according to the American Cancer Society.
If you’re 65 or older, you should stay up to date with immunizations by getting the pneumococcal vaccine, the shingles vaccine and a tetanus-diphtheria booster, in addition to the annual flu shot.
The 14-test comprehensive metabolic panel includes the eight tests from the basic metabolic panel, plus tests of protein levels and liver function, according to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.
If you have questions about health screenings and which ones are right for you, talk with our Family Medicine Provider, Alison Shepherd, MSN, APRN, at East Arkansas Medical Group’s Family Medicine Clinic. Schedule your appointment today at www.ForrestCityAnytime.com.