Joelle Reizes - December 27, 2013
As we age, we become more at-risk for certain diseases that impact older adults more often than younger adults. Individuals over 50 should be screened regularly for a variety of health problems. Preventive health screenings can detect conditions that have yet to present any symptoms so treatment can be sought sooner.
Various health institutions, including the National Institute of Health, the National Cholesterol Education Program, the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend adults over age 50 take advantage of the following health screenings:
1. Prostate Cancer Screening
The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test is a method of screening for prostate cancer that the American Urological Association says is for men who want to “pursue early diagnosis” of the condition. Approximately a third of all men over fifty have cancer in their prostate gland. While this type of cancer may never cause a problem, that is not easy to tell at an early stage. Early discovery via screening may prevent catastrophic consequences from prostate cancer.
A mammogram is the main method of screening for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that women start having a yearly mammogram after age 40. However, women should talk to their doctors to see what’s right for them, especially if they are considered high-risk.
Colorectal cancer is a problem for both genders, but it can often be detected through a colonoscopy. The American Cancer Society recommends men and women have a colonoscopy every five to ten years starting at age 50, depending on risk factors.
Other tests that can detect colorectal cancer include flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography, fecal occult blood test and double-contrast barium enema. Talk to your doctor to see which test is right for you.
4. Heart Disease Screening
Health screening tests for heart disease include blood tests for cholesterol, blood pressure tests and screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm. People with high cholesterol are at a higher risk for heart disease. Age and other risk factors (like a history of smoking) raise the likelihood of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Life Line Screening recommends at-risk individuals should undergo the aortic aneurysm screening annually.
5. Bone Density Screening
Bone density scans have the ability to better detect osteoporosis risk. It is recommended that women start getting screened for this condition at age 65 and men at age 75. Women at a higher risk should start getting screened at menopause and men at age 50, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
6. Pap Test
Pap tests are capable of detecting cervical cancer. Until she gets to 65, a woman should have a pap smears at least once every three years. If the results have been normal up that point, she can stop getting the tests at 65 or 70, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about which health screenings you should be having and how often you may need them.
Category: Health Awareness, Health Screenings
Tags: breast cancer , disease risk assessment , health screening , health screenings , healthy aging , Life Line Screening , osteoporosis , preventative health screenings , preventive health , prostate cancer
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