Thanks to technological and medical advances people are living longer. With this comes the discussion of healthy aging. Exercising routinely, eating well, and steering clear of harmful vices are just part of this process – it’s also important to undergo consistent health screenings. From blood work to checking thyroid function, checking, and maintaining your health through frequent and various testing has become crucial.
Why do we do this? When it comes to being in good health, information is the greatest tool we can have at our disposal. Also, with improved longevity comes an increased risk of developing chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and malignancy. These diseases can lead to a diminished quality of life as well as consequential disability.
The best approach to these illnesses is through prevention and early detection. What does early detection look like? The process is different from person to person based on gender, age, and a variety of other factors, but there are some general testing standards. Here are just some of the recommended screenings needed as we age and their timeframes.
For women: Mammograms are x-ray examinations of the breasts. Health experts advise that women should have one every couple years starting at age 40. Anyone with a family history or genetic disposition may choose to screen sooner. Bone density scans are another test specific to women. These are also performed with an x-ray and can calculate bone health as well as the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Starting around 65, women should undergo bone scanning annually or bi-annually.
For men: While recommended for both sexes, monthly self-checks for irregular moles are important. However, men have a higher rate of skin cancers than women. It’s advised to start looking for abnormalities as a young adult, however, the probability does increase with age. Self-inspections as well as examinations performed by a dermatologist are essential in early detection. Prostate screening is also important for men. While these exams might be awkward, men are highly encouraged to begin annual exams around 55 years old. Lastly, an ultrasound inspection is advised to men — especially smokers — to look for an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Only 70 years ago, just 8% of the world’s population was over 60. By 2050, that demographic is expected to reach 21%. It’s forecasted that we’ll see medical innovations that can help prolong life even longer during this time, as more focus is placed on healthy aging. Until then, we have medical standards, such as screenings and more, to guide us. Keep in mind that the ages listed in these policies are generalized. Make sure to speak with your doctor, as everyone’s health is unique and may require testing sooner or later.
For more information about screening guidelines recommended for healthy aging, please see the accompanying resource by Senior Healthcare Direct.
This infographic was created by Senior Healthcare Direct, learn more about medicare advantage benefits