As human’s age their health requirements change and the tests and procedures they need can often help prolong their lives. Early diagnosis and treatment of any condition can often make the difference between life or death and it offers a “footprint” or “plan” for the patient to follow along with advice and support from their physician.
The staff at Mountains Community Hospital reminds everyone that as people age they will need to have tests and procedures they did not require in their younger years. It’s part of getting older.
A good diet and exercise program are an important part of staying as healthy as possible. Getting enough sleep at any age is vital. Without restorative sleep it takes a toll on many of the body’s systems and it affects an older person’s reactions and reflexes.
Women and Men 35 and Over
Adults who 35 and older should have their thyroid checked and get repeat tests done every five years. The aging process, accompanied by untreated thyroid problems, can be the cause of a number of problems, particularly in women.
Women and Men Over 40
Women over 40 should get an annual mammogram to check for breast cancer. Women with a history of breast cancer in their family should get their first mammogram before their 40th birthday.
Men as well as women can get breast cancer so men should give themselves a “once over” in the mirror to check for discoloration or other “abnormal” issues around their breasts.
Women and Men Over 50
Aging adults need to monitor their blood pressure. If untreated, high blood pressure can harm the heart, brain, eyes and kidneys. Get tested! This is a killer!
People over 50 need to get a fasting blood sugar test at least once every three years. While may laboratory tests must be ordered by your physician, that isn’t necessary for a cholesterol profile of blood sugar. Contact the MCH Laboratory (436-3140) for a complete list of other self-referred test that are available.
Women need to make sure they continue having pap smears and pelvic exams.
Men over 50 should have a prostate screening for colon cancer. Annual PSA tests and digital rectal exams are important for men starting at age 50.
Men and Women need to have their eyes checked every one to two years. As people age their eyesight slowly changes.
Skin cancer is another significant concern for adults over 50. Ask your doctor to perform a visual exam during you next routine office visit. Skin cancer can often be present in areas of the body that you cannot see on you own.
Men and Women 60 and Over
An estimated 60 percent of people over 60-years-old have some type of hearing loss. It is important for aging adults to have a hearing test at least once every three years.
The National Osteoporosis is Foundation recommends that all women over 65 have a bone mineral density test. As we age, falling becomes increasingly common, especially among women. Changes in bone density is often the cause.
Both men and women should have their cholesterol levels checked regularly. High cholesterol levels are a major cause of both heart attacks and strokes.
One area that is often neglected is dental health. Men and women need to see their dentist regularly to safeguard agains gum disease, mouth cancer and other conditions that are more prevalent among aging adults.
The bottom line is, age increases your susceptibility to a variety of ailments and conditions that probably were of little or no concern when you were younger. One of the hardest things we all have to face is the fact that we are growing older and are not as invincible as we once were. Responsible fitness and common sense can really and truly prolong your life.