Medical preventative care is vital for everyone, but it is even more so for older adults. The reason being, as you get older, your body becomes susceptible to health problems, which predispose you to conditions such as blood pressure, respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and so on.
Thankfully, more seniors are living longer and healthier lives, thanks to advances in healthcare, a focus on healthy lifestyles, and better opportunities to make better life choices. Nonetheless, it is still essential to seek preventative care to help identify a developing problem earlier to ensure you live a healthy and satisfying life.
That said, here are some recommended preventative healthcare screenings for seniors:
The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age and can pose significant health challenges if left unattended. Typically, high blood pressure in older adults is attributed to changes in arteries and overall blood circulation. And since it is the number one risk factor for heart disease, which itself is the leading cause of death for seniors aged 65 and above, screening for blood pressure is critical as you get older.
Going for high blood pressure screening can help identify a problem before it compromises your health. Make a point of seeing your doctor at least once a year to get the necessary treatment and care as per your physician’s instructions.
According to statistics, 14 million seniors (comprising 25 percent of older adults) live with diabetes, which proves its prevalence among this demographic. This disease is also linked to other health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and dementia. The fact that it tends to go unnoticed for a long time makes it quite a health risk for seniors.
Preventative care can allow a doctor to check for any symptoms that signal the onset of diabetes. Screenings are recommended every two years for seniors above 65 years but should be more frequent for those with a family history of the same, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity.
Breast and colorectal cancer
With 40 percent of all new cancer cases being detected in women 65 years and above, breast cancer screening is important in detecting the development of the disease. It is recommendable for women between the ages of 50 and 74 to have a mammogram every two years, although your doctor may recommend you have it more often depending on the risk factors.
In regard to colorectal cancer, 70 percent of cases are detected in adults over 70 years of age. Preventative care for this type of cancer should begin at 50 years and continue until the age of 75 years. Your doctor can discuss the right type of screening for you.
Vaccinations are critical for seniors to keep infections at bay. One recommended vaccination is the influenza vaccine which helps to prevent influenza (flu). Older adults should get an influenza shot every year.
An equally important vaccination is pneumococcal vaccines that protect you from pneumonia. They are especially important for seniors since they are more vulnerable to pneumonia and its complications.
High cholesterol increases your chance of getting heart disease and stroke, which are the two leading causes of death in the US. Notably, high cholesterol has no symptoms, making it hard to detect. As such, having regular checks with your doctor can help identify any leading signs and risk factors that signify the presence thereof. Be sure to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly if you have cardiovascular disease or related conditions.
Seniors are susceptible to loneliness and isolation, which often lead to mental health problems like depression. Coupled with other factors such as a decline in physical health and the development of diseases like heart condition, older adults are at a higher risk of developing mental health issues.
Having yearly mental health assessments can help to proactively deal with mental health issues before they affect your overall wellbeing. Specifically, preventative healthcare can ensure you get an early diagnosis to help promote early and optimal management of your mental health.
Indeed, preventative care is paramount for older adults for many reasons. Visiting your doctor frequently can go a long way in identifying developing health problems before they become problematic. This can guarantee you good health and certainly a long life.
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