As people age into their senior years, it becomes far more important to stay on top of routine medical procedures. This not only helps prevent age-related illness, but is also an important part of catching major issues like cancer before they worsen. Unfortunately, many people find it difficult to stay on top of all the different medical procedures that are recommended. What are the major procedures you need to remember, and what steps can help you stay on top of them?
Tips for Tracking Routine Medical Procedures
Staying on top of your health is difficult for everyone, especially when you add the difficulties that retired people face on top of that. However, there’s a couple easy steps that you can take to ensure that important health factors are being tested for as often as they should.
The first, and easiest, is by seeing the doctor on a regular basis. While the frequency of doctor visits will vary on an individual basis, it’s recommended to see a regular physician at least twice a year. This will help them track all of your different health measurements, as well as recommend tests when the time comes for them. While it’s important to stay on top of your health individually, your healthcare provider can help take some of the pressure off when it comes to remembering all of the different tests that are needed.
There’s also a couple other ideas that people have mentioned working well for them. If your healthcare provider has a tool like MyChart, which keeps track of all health-related info in one convenient place, using that can be a great tool. For those who don’t have access to a system like that, or simply prefer traditional means, building a “health book” can be a good way to go. Use this to keep track of dates that certain tests have been performed, as well as when they should next happen. For seniors who have memory-related issues, having a younger family member keep track of this book can be a good way to go.
Most Important Routine Medical Procedures for Seniors
General Medical Procedures
Colorectal Cancer Screenings
Doctors recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years, or more often if you have a family history of certain types of cancer. Talk to your doctor to see if they suggest having this type of test done, and how frequently.
Blood Pressure Tests
Over 60% of adults between 65 and 74 years old have high blood pressure, often called the “silent killer” due to symptoms often going unnoticed until it’s too late. Doctors suggest a yearly blood pressure exam.
Sight & Hearing
Even if your sight & hearing seem completely fine, doctors suggest getting an exam done every 2 years after 40. This can help prevent long-term issues that may not be noticeable under regular circumstances.
Other General Medical Procedures
Getting regular dental exams (1-2 times yearly) will help prevent damage to teeth or gums, and help you keep your natural teeth for longer. A periodontal exam (x-ray of jaw and mouth) should also be performed regularly.
Bone Density Scan
Bone density declines with age, particularly after age 65. This applies to everyone, but especially women. Doctors recommend getting a bone density scan regularly in order to prevent osteoporosis and other related issues.
Nearly 30 million Americans have Type 2 Diabetes, and it becomes more common with age. Even with perfect health, everyone should be screened for this condition after age 45.
Routine Screenings for Cancer
Prostate Cancer Screening (Men)
Doctors recommend that everyone over the age of 50 be tested for prostate cancer, though detection methods vary. For those with a family history or other risk factors, testing should start at age 40.
Breast Exams (Women)
Doctors recommend that a breast exam and mammogram be performed once or twice per year after age 45, and once per year after 55. This especially applies to those with a family history of breast cancer, who should talk with their doctor regarding test frequency.
Pelvic Exam and HPV Test (Women)
Many women over the age of 65 may need a regular pelvic exam, as well as a Pap smear which can help detect cervical or vaginal cancer. This may also help with issues like incontinence or pelvic pain.