Important Health Tests By Age
Health Tests for Better Living
As we get older the risk of injury and disease increases so it is important to keep up with what is going on inside our bodies. We want to catch anything out of the ordinary in its early stages so we can easily treat it and achieve the best possible outcome.
These are some of the more important tests you should undergo as time rolls merrily on.
(BMI) Body Mass Index
BMI is a calculation of your body fat on a height to weight scale. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough, and everybody of every age should be getting this test done annually.
Keeping your body fat in check is a good preventative for common conditions such as high blood pressure and some cancers.
Go over to the Heart Foundations BMI calculator and measure yours now – It takes 5 seconds and is FREE.
Blood Pressure Test
Your Blood Pressure is another test that everyone should have done at least once a year, if you have high blood pressure and it goes unchecked the risk of serious conditions such as heart attack and stroke increase dramatically.
Remember, many things can cause high blood pressure such as obesity, kidney problems, hypothyroidism, hormonal problems and genetics.
Once again, everyone should have a skin exam at least once a year, don’t wait until you have found an abnormality.
Get your doctor to check your entire body for any changes in skin lesions, or moles which may indicate skin cancer. This is particularly important in the young and those with sensitive skin.
Women in Your 20s
A manual exam for cervical cancer involves a pap smear which tests a swab of cells taken from the cervix opening.
This Should Be Done:
- Between 18 and 70 – every one to two years
- 30 to 40 with a stable partner every two years is a reasonable time frame
- If you are sexually active before the age of 18 it is important to get your first pap smear one year after your first sexual experience
Remember: Cervical Cancer is caused by the spread of HPV (human papillomavirus), a sexually transmitted disease, so if you have multiple sexual partners it is important to get tested more frequently.
Women in your 40s
An x-ray designed to detect abnormal masses within the breast which may or may not be malignant.
Every female should be self checking for any abnormalities frequently, especially if there is a family history of breast cancer. It is important to get your doctor to give you a thorough breast examination annually.
Tests for Men and Women in Their 50s
Colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or fecal occult blood test for colon cancer
From the age of 50 both men and women should be getting tested for colon cancer every year, and age 40 if there is a family history.
A colonoscopy is a very uncomfortable, but efficient test. A small camera is inserted into your colon so the doctor can see if there are any abnormalities which may be malignant.
A similar test to the colonoscopy is the sigmoidoscopy, it’s the same procedure although this test only examines the lower third of the colon.
The fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
This test should be done annually. It’s a very simple, non-invasive test where your stool is examined for blood. If there is any blood in your stool then you would have to undergo a colonoscopy.
The FOBT can be done from home; you simply mail a stool sample to the appropriate testing facility.
Fasting Glucose Blood Test for Diabetes
If a person has a family history of diabetes or is overweight they should be tested for diabetes at any age.
Around the age of 50 it is important for both men and women to be tested as this is a higher risk age.
Diabetes is a chronic condition where you either don’t produce enough insulin, or your body is resistant to insulin, making it difficult to maintain sufficient glucose levels.
If type two diabetes is left untreated it can be life threatening.
High Cholesterol Blood Test
Both males and females at any age should keep an eye on their cholesterol levels, especially if there is a family history of high cholesterol or the person is overweight.
From the age of 50 cholesterol levels should be checked annually.
Prostrate exam/Prostrate-Special Antigen Blood Test (PSA) for men
Every one or two years after the age of fifty men should get a PSA blood test and/or a physical prostrate exam to check for prostate cancer.
Many men opt for the PSA blood test as having a finger inserted into their rectum is something that they just do not want to go through. If the PSA test finds any abnormalities you would have to get further tests anyway and it is much more effective if you undergo both exams.
Tests for Men and Women 60+
Glaucoma is a number of eye conditions which result in higher than normal pressure in the eye which ultimately damages the optic nerve.
Although glaucoma is not fully understood and screening everybody simply would not be cost effective, those in a high risk category such as people from African or Hispanic ancestry, people who have diabetes, people who are near sighted or have a family history of glaucoma should see an optometrist at least every two years.
Bone Mineral Density Test
If you are over the age of 65 it is important to get a bone mineral density test to understand your risk of fractures and be able to change your lifestyle to suit. Osteoporosis affects both men and women with those being frail, thin, or a smoker at higher risk.