While aging is a natural part of life, it does not have to be uncomfortable or filled with unwelcome physical health symptoms. Routine medical tests and screenings for seniors are designed to catch small issues before they become larger problems or chronic diseases. Most are easily completed, and many are covered in their entirety under health insurance plans. If you are a man or a woman older than 60, check with your provider about recommendations specific to you.
All seniors should have at least one complete physical every year. In some cases, such as for those with chronic health problems, physicals may need to happen more frequently. Some simple tests are a part of every physical. For example, a nurse will check your weight and measure your blood pressure. Obesity has been tied to numerous chronic health concerns, and high blood pressure is one of the most concerning yet hidden problems for both men and women. In addition, women will probably have a yearly breast examination while men will have a prostate cancer screening.
Some health problems can be easily discovered with a blood draw. For example, your doctor will probably recommend regular blood lipid studies, which can show whether you are at high risk for heart disease. A hemoglobin A1C can show whether you are at risk for diabetes. Your doctor may also opt for checking your thyroid and vitamin D levels based on how you are feeling.
Numerous other simple screenings can test for such conditions as bone loss, cancer, and hearing loss. A colonoscopy checks for colon cancer and is one of the more invasive screening methods that should be undergone every ten years after the age of 50 for most people. Women over the age of 60 will probably still need to have at least one or two more Pap smears until their physicians recommend waiving the procedure. Mammograms are also recommended every two years.
Other Routine Medical Tests and Recommendations
Other screenings, tests, and treatments that your physician may recommend at this age could include the following:
- Booster immunizations
- Influenza and pneumonia vaccinations
- Annual skin checks
- Hearing and vision checks
- Cardiac stress tests
- Peripheral vascular disease screenings