As you age, the need to visit your doctor for regular checkups also increases. You would notice that you have slowed down and that there are certain changes in your body. That is why you need to be more proactive about your health and monitor it from time to time. By undergoing routine health checks, you can spot any health conditions earlier when they are easier to treat.
Here are clinical tests that you should undergo in your later years:
Blood pressure readings
According to the Heart Foundation, close to a million adult Australians have Hypertension. This number represents 33.7% of adults in the country, which includes around 3 million males and 2.9 million females.
Because its symptoms do not appear until you are actually having a heart attack or stroke, the disease is often dubbed as a “silent killer”. That is why you should have your blood pressure checked from time to time.
A major cause why people suffer from hypertension, and ultimately strokes and heart attacks, is high cholesterol levels. Basically, tests are done to determine the levels of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL) and bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) in your body. If you are found to have high levels of the latter, then you are at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
The good news is, high cholesterol levels can easily be treated by taking medications and proper diet.
Blood sugar tests
Diabetes does not have to be life-threatening. By undergoing fasting blood sugar tests once every three years, you will know if you have the disease at an early stage and manage it. However, if you have other risk factors or conditions, you may need to undergo the tests more frequently.
Age also comes with an increased chance to develop eye diseases, such as cataract, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Ophthalmologists suggest you get a baseline screening when you reach the age of 40.
As you get older, you will need more comprehensive tests, like a dilated eye exam. This type of test can detect more serious eye conditions at their early stages before vision loss happens.
Hearing loss comes with ageing as well, but it can sometimes be caused by an infection or other medical conditions.
Hearing tests or audiograms are performed to check your hearing scores in a variety of intensity and pitch levels. Most cases of hearing loss can be treated, but treatments will depend on the cause and severity of the condition.
Colorectal cancer screenings
In a colorectal cancer screening or colonoscopy, a doctor scans your colon for cancerous polyps (abnormal tissue growths) using an endoscopic camera.
After the age of 50, your doctor would require you to undergo this test every 10 years. Tests will be more frequent if you have a family history of colorectal cancer.
These tests measure the levels of specific lipids in your blood to help doctors assess your risk of developing a CVD. Specifically, these tests determine the amount of cholesterol and triglyceride in your body. If results show high levels of both, then your doctor may recommend changing your diet and lifestyle, as well as take medications, to bring them down.
Bone density scans
A study by Osteoporosis Australia estimates that around 6.2 million Australians aged 50 and above will suffer from osteoporosis by 2022, which is a 31% increase from their 2012 findings. While both men and women are at risk, the latter is affected more often.
You can find out whether you should be concerned about this condition or you already have it by getting a bone density test. Especially if you reach 65, you are advised to have it on a regular basis.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level tests
During old age, your thyroid may no longer produce enough hormones to regulate your metabolism. This may cause weight gain, sluggishness, and dull pains in some parts of your body. For men, it may even cause erectile dysfunction (ED).
With a simple TSH test, you will know if your thyroid is still functioning properly.
Every one of us, no matter our age, deserves to be healthy and feel good about ourselves. Just because you have reached your senior years does not mean that you cannot be independent and happy. By undergoing the tests mentioned above regularly, you will detect any problem and seek treatment as early as possible.
However, you should also remember that these are not the only tests your doctor might require you to have. They may recommend additional tests based on your gender and personal health profile, such as a Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test, prostate cancer screening, breast exam, pap smear, pelvic exam, skin exam, and a dental exam.