Dr. Keerthi Prakash Kotla, Consultant Pathologist, Apollo Diagnostics Pune
Are you 60+? Then, it will be imperative for you to lead a healthy and disease-free life. For doing so, you need to take charge of your health by opting for regular tests and screenings to rule out any abnormal changes occurring in your body. So, don’t delay or skip your routine tests, check-ups, or follow-ups.
Being above 60 can invite various health conditions such as high cholesterol, hypertension, cancers, or even allergies and infections. Thus, Health checkups are preventive ways that can help to manage a lot of diseases. It can help one to know the possibility of the onset of medical conditions, and tell you about every possibility of developing any disease. In adults, who have crossed the sixties, aging impacts the overall well-being. The nutrition gets compromised, and they face lots of problems when compared with the younger population. So, one needs to be alert and opt for regular health check-ups to keep any conditions or diseases at bay.
These are some of the common tests recommended for the older population:
• Blood pressure check: Hypertension is one of the common problems that has been witnessed in this age group and it can invite a host of heart conditions. Blood pressure can be a silent killer and will show up only till it is late to treat. Checking for blood pressure after regular intervals as suggested by the doctor is mandatory. If the patient is having BP, then regular checking of the BP is recommended for everyone.
• Blood lipids test: Cholesterol and triglycerides are linked to heart diseases and stroke. Hence, it is the need of the hour to manage your cholesterol levels and improve your quality of life. Don’t forget to check your cholesterol, and stay healthy.
• Colorectal cancer: A colon cancer test can be done to spot any abnormal growth or polyps. Colonoscopy can be carried out to detect cancer and should be done once in 10 years after you turn 50. Treatment can be easy if you catch cancer at an early stage.
• Vitamin D test: It will be helpful to evaluate your bone health. Do it after you experience back, bone, or muscle pain. Or if there are issues like inflammation, hair loss, skin problems, and slow wound healing.
• For women, a breast exam and mammogram. Know this: Breast cancer risk increases with age. So it’s especially important for you to get that mammogram. A mammogram is recommended every 1 to 2 years starting at age 40 or 50. Not all breast cancer experts agree. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin regular mammograms and how often you should have them.
• For women, a pelvic exam, Pap smear and HPV test. You may think it’s crazy, but many women over 60 still need to get regular pelvic exams, Pap smears, or human papillomavirus (HPV) tests. Older women can get cervical cancer or vaginal cancer. And the pelvic exam can detect a host of other conditions that may affect your health and quality of life (think incontinence!). Pap smears are recommended for women every 3 years, an HPV test every 5 years, or both, up to age 65. If a woman is older than 65 and has had several negative Pap smears in a row or has had a total hysterectomy for a noncancerous condition like fibroids, your doctor may tell you that a Pap test is no longer needed.
• Protecting your eyes. Eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma, are common with age. Screening can preserve and maximize your vision. Ask your eye doctor how often you need to have your eyes checked.
• Hearing test. At least 25% of people ages 65 to 74 have disabling hearing loss, most of which is treatable. That number increases to 50% with age. Get a hearing test if you are having any trouble hearing.
• Protect your bones. Osteoporosis is no joke. If you have it and you get a fracture — especially of the hip — you’ve significantly increased your risk of permanent disability or death. Get serious and ask your doctor to refer you for a bone density test. Women should have a bone density test at age 65. If a woman is at a higher risk, a screening test may need to be done at an earlier age. Talk to your doctor.
Takeaway: Women will also be recommended blood tests, MRIs, and scanning for breast and cervical cancer. Lungs, liver, thyroid tests, and tests that are tied to genetic diseases need to be included in the routine tests and physical exams recommended by the doctors. Any severe condition can be diagnosed at an initial stage and treated successfully with prompt medication and approach. In the case of men, prostate cancer test has to be done regularly after 50. Moreover, older women should not forget to do pelvic exams, pap smear tests, and mammograms who have a family history of breast and uterine cancer