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Safeguarding Senior Health: The Necessity of Regular Medical Screenings

You know those birds, who notoriously stick their heads in the sand to avoid predators? Do they really think the predators can’t see the rest of their bodies? Ostriches do not appear to be the smartest birds in the savanna.

Believe it or not, when it comes to our health, humans are often tempted to mimic that ostrich behavior. But rest assured avoiding the doctors, conversations, tests and all-important screenings will not make the potential threats to your health disappear.

Regular health screening for older adults can:

  • Help detect issues in the early stages, improving treatment outcomes.
  • Identify risk factors for chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • Help monitor and improve management of chronic diseases.
  • Provide critical information that will improve seniors’ quality of life.
  • Increase life expectancy.
  • Foster better communication with health care providers and improved understanding of personal health.
  • Improve overall health and wellbeing and keep seniors active and independent.
  • Regular checkups are essential to open the lines of communication and create a relationship with your medical care team. The following tests and screenings will provide some of the critical information necessary to optimize your personal health plan.   

Blood Pressure Check

High blood pressure, known as hypertension, is called the silent killer. It increases your chances of a heart attack or stroke.

Colonoscopy

The preparation is not the most fun you’ll ever have, but the test should be a high priority. A colonoscopy that scans your colon for cancerous growths can literally save your life. Colon cancer is highly treatable in the early stages.

Senior Vaccines

The older we get, the more our immune systems weaken, putting seniors at higher risk for illnesses like pneumonia and the flu. The CDC recommends the following vaccines for those 65 and over.

  • Covid
  • Flu
  • Pneumonia
  • Shingles
  • Tdap

Eye Exams

Your regular eye exam will manage ongoing vision issues, diagnose new problems and screen for glaucoma and cataracts.

Dental Health

Many seniors take medications that can negatively impact oral health. Stay on top of any new or ongoing oral issues with regular dental checkups and cleanings.

Hearing

Are your kids on your case for blasting the TV? Hearing loss is often a part of the aging process. But it can also be the result of an infection or other medical condition. An audiogram will check your hearing at a variety of pitches and intensity levels. Your doctor may recommend hearing aids and will help you navigate the process of choosing the ones that will work best for you.

Bone Density

A condition that affects women more than men, osteoporosis can be the cause of life altering bone fractures. A bone density test will measure your bone mass and assess your risk.  

Blood Work:

  • Cholesterol
    • A blood test to measure your lipid profile will provide information about your cholesterol levels. If your numbers are high, your doctor may recommend diet and lifestyle changes or any one of the several cholesterol reducing medications.
  • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin D helps protect your bones and may also reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. If you vitamin D level is low, your doctor may recommend a supplement.
  • Thyroid
    • The thyroid is a tiny gland with a very big job. An under or over active thyroid can impact your overall health causing sluggishness, weight gain, constipation, general malaise, and erectile dysfunction in men. A simple blood test can determine whether or not your thyroid is functioning properly. If it is not, most likely daily medication will do the trick.
  • Prostate
    • Early detection is the key to fighting prostate cancer. Your doctor will order a blood test to measure prostate specific antigens in the blood.
  • Diabetes Test
    • Your doctor will order an A1C and/or a fasting blood sugar test to make sure you are not at risk for diabetes.

Skin Check

Your yearly visit to the dermatologist for a full body mole check is your best defense against skin cancer. Your doctor will check for new or suspicious moles or growth. Early detection is the key to keeping a small mole from becoming a very big, and life-threatening deal.

Mammogram

There are differing opinions on how often older women should get mammograms. The CDC recommendation for women between the ages of 50 and 74 is every two years.

Book a tour at an Overture senior living apartment complex today. You can expect resort worthy amenities, unlimited activities and social opportunities - and the support of a caring like-minded community that understands you and shares your health concerns.

No chance of being an ostrich when you live among a flock that gets you and has your back.