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Screening for Healthy Ageing

As we age, our bodies change dramatically. From the everyday signs like grey hair and wrinkles, to the less obvious indicators like deteriorating eyesight and aching joints, it’s hard to know what’s normal and what you should be concerned about.  Regular medical examinations are an important part of maintaining overall body health for everyone. For seniors, there are a variety of tests and screenings that should be added to a regular medical regimen to ensure any illnesses are detected early. The following illnesses often affect seniors, but can be treated or prevented with early detection.

Blood Pressure – Hypertension (high blood pressure) affects one in three adults. Your chances of having elevated blood pressure greatly increases over the age of 65. Hypertension escalates the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, and symptoms often don’t show until it is too late. That’s why it is important to have your blood pressure checked each year.

Cholesterol – High cholesterol also increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. You can reduce your levels by changing your diet and making lifestyle changes. If you suffer from heart disease, diabetes or kidney problems, you should have your cholesterol checked more frequently.

Diabetes – The American Diabetes Association states that diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US. Approximately 25% of seniors suffer from diabetes. Due to the large number of undiagnosed cases, it is likely that number is actually higher. It is recommended screening tests begin at age 45.

Cancer – Cancer is one of the leading causes of death among adults age 65 and older. Screening for cancer before symptoms appear, is the best way to beat the disease. Treatment is much more effective when started in the early stages of development. Doctors recommended screening for skin, prostate, colon, breast, lung cancer and mesothelioma begin between the ages of 40-45 in high-risk individuals, and age 50 for normal risk cases. Visit https://www.mesotheliomahelp.org/mesothelioma/symptoms/ to learn more about the signs of mesothelioma. Self-screening can be helpful for skin and breast cancer, but many types of cancer can only be detected with medical testing.

Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a disease that causes decreased bone mass and density, resulting in fragile bones that break easily.  There are often no signs of osteoporosis until a bone break occurs. Bone density reaches its peak between the ages of 25-35, and begins to decrease after age 35. Bone Density Scans are used to screen for osteoporosis, and are recommended for those over the age 65. Women are at higher risk than men and should be screened regularly.

Dementia – Dementia is a general term that includes a variety of cognitive disorders. Early diagnosis is critical to the patients’ involvement and understanding of their treatment. In some dementia cases issues may be the result of a condition that is treatable.  Dementia resulting from brain tumors, alcohol abuse, or medication misuse can be treated if caught early enough.

Regular exercise, a healthy diet and getting enough sleep are all important factors in keeping your body in top shape.  Supplementing a healthy lifestyle with medical check-ups and preventative screening can make all the difference in how quickly a disease is caught and the effectiveness of treatment.