A healthy diet and lifestyle are essential at almost any stage of your life. However, as you age, it becomes more crucial to maintain your health to live a life of vitality and wellness.
How would you know if your lifestyle or food intake is healthy? Regular medical examinations help you! They allow you to detect health issues before they become life-threatening or severe. You would know what is going wrong in your body and what can be improved.
These routine health check-ups become necessary when you hit 50, as the risk of developing chronic diseases increases when you age. Although you may not show any symptoms or signs of any medical condition, your body might develop a problem that might be a reason for incurable illness. Therefore, seniors may need to visit the doctor more often to monitor their health issues linked with aging.
Here is the list of some must-have preventative health tests all the elderly above 50 should undergo every six months or a year.
- Lung Function Test
These are a group of tests that checks if your lungs are working fine. Lung function tests determine how well your lungs carry oxygen into the bloodstream, how much air the lungs can hold, and your ability to breathe in and out.
They are used to determine the cause of any breathing problems, diagnose chronic lung conditions, monitor them, and check whether your lungs are exposed to harmful substances, such as asbestos.
Most lung problems cause symptoms like difficulty breathing and chronic cough. However, certain lung diseases which show no immediate symptoms are common in military veterans and mesothelioma is one of them. Mesothelioma symptoms appear decades after asbestos exposure, so if you or your loved one have worked in places suspected of asbestos exposure, make sure to visit your healthcare provider and take preventative measures before the condition worsens.
Even if you’re unsure, get your lung function test done as a preventative measure.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
A complete blood count or hemogram is a test used to count different components that make up the blood (RBCs, WBCs, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelets). It helps to assess your overall health and check for any underlying disorders that advocate for further evaluation. Doctors may also recommend a CBC test to see how your body responds to treatments like chemotherapy.
- Liver Function Test
The prevalence of developing liver problems increases as you get older. While advanced liver disease is found more often in the elderly than in younger individuals, you should get your liver checked when you cross 50.
Liver function tests measure different proteins, enzymes, and substances your liver produces. Different liver function tests include albumin, bilirubin, Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test, and Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) test. These detect problems with your liver and check its overall health.
Your doctor may recommend a liver function test in the following conditions:
- To check for liver damage due to hepatitis B and C
- If you consume high amounts of alcohol
- To monitor the consequences of certain medications that are known to affect your liver, such as antibiotics, tuberculosis drugs, statins, and antiseizure medication
- If you have diabetes, anemia, or high blood pressure
- Diabetes Screening
Research has shown that aging is not only linked to enhanced vulnerability to diabetes but also increased susceptibility to developing diabetes-related problems, like hypoglycemia, heart disease, and kidney failure. About 33% of elderly individuals aged 65 or above have diabetes.
If you are obese or have suddenly started to lose weight, your doctor may recommend diabetes tests. The tests may include an A1C test, fasting blood sugar test, glucose tolerance test, random blood sugar test, or glucose screening test to find if you’ve prediabetes or gestational, type 1, or type 2 diabetes.
Even when you don’t have any symptoms, ensure to get yourself examined for diabetes annually to avoid complications later.
- Kidney Function Test (KFT)
You may need your KFT done if your healthcare provider thinks your kidneys are not working well. Kidney function tests are simple urine or blood screening tests that check the function of your kidneys and identify any problems associated with them. These tests include urinalysis, Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN), serum creatinine test, and estimated GFR. Most of them estimate Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR), which helps your doctor assess how effectively your kidneys remove waste products from your body.
You must also get your kidney function testing done if you’ve other health problems that can impair the kidneys, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Bone Densitometry
As you age, the structure of your bone changes, leading to the loss of bone tissue. The lower the bone mass, the weaker the bone becomes. You become prone to bone fractures and permanent disabilities due to falls or sudden bumps.
People aged 65 years and older are advised to get a Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, a type of X-ray that uses a little amount of ionizing radiation to generate images of the inside of your body (commonly the hip and lower spine region) to determine bone loss.
Bone densitometry is a non-invasive procedure that helps to identify bone-related diseases.
- Lipid Profile
High cholesterol levels are a risk factor for stroke and heart disease. Males 35 years old and above and females 45 years old and above should have their lipid profile checked on a routine basis.
Lipid profile refers to the complete cholesterol test that helps measure the level of triglycerides and cholesterol in your blood.
- Thyroid Profile
The thyroid gland, found in the lower-front region of your neck, is responsible for various bodily processes, including metabolism, mood, and energy generation. The thyroid profile includes a set of tests that measures the levels of T3, T4, and TSH hormones. A doctor may suggest these tests to identify the abnormality in the gland or monitor the effectiveness of treatment.
People over sixty-five years old are at greater risk of glaucoma, an eye disorder that can harm optic nerves and eventually results in blindness. Routine check-ups with an ophthalmologist can help individuals in this age group reduce the risk of developing glaucoma. For more updates, visit: https://kallesauerland.com/
It is better to follow preventative measures than to compensate for the damage the disease has caused. Prevention is important for everyone, especially for the elderly. It’s because their chance of disease increases. From eyes and bones to lungs and liver, every body organ begins to deteriorate as you age. Regular medical screening tests will help you prevent health conditions and diagnose them early so you can live a healthier, longer life.