We want to look after ourselves as we age, including eating well, exercising regularly, looking after our mental health, and being sensible about avoiding falls and injuries. Along with the things we can do for ourselves, however, it is important to keep up with regular screening tests from our doctors and other health professionals. These screening tests can help to keep us independent, vital, and healthy. The list of tests that we should undergo will vary from person to person based on age, gender, risk factors and family health history, but here are some ideas of what you should consider.
- Blood Pressure – ensuring that your blood pressure is in the normal range will help to keep your heart, arteries, brain, eyes and kidneys healthy.
- Breast exams and mammograms – in Alberta, mammograms are recommended every two years for women between the ages of 50 and 74.
- Pap tests and HPV tests – women aged 25 to 69 should receive screening tests every three years to find and treat changes before they develop into cervical cancer.
- Eye exams – screening for macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma can preserve and maximize your vision.
- Hearing tests – hearing loss can impact quality of life in many ways, but most often is treatable. A hearing test is painless and informative.
- Bone density – Osteoporosis Canada recommends that all men and women aged 65 or over have a bone density test to check for osteoporosis. Risk factor tests such as CAROC and FRAX can be used by doctors together with bone density results to determine fracture risk.
- Cholesterol screening – as high cholesterol levels can lead to heart attacks and strokes, it is important to regularly measure both HDL “good” and LDL “bad” cholesterol levels.
- Blood sugar – a fasting blood sugar test can catch diabetes early, which means easier management of the condition.
- Colon cancer screening – regular screening in Alberta starts at age 50, and there are several test types. Colon cancer is easily cured if detected early, and can be prevented altogether if polyps are detected and removed before they have a chance to become cancerous.
- Skin cancer – if you have any unusual moles or skin changes, make sure to talk to your doctor. Skin cancers can take 20 years or more to develop, but most are curable.
- Dental exams – your teeth, gums, mouth and throat should be regularly looked at by a dentist. Remember that gum health can be an important indicator of overall health, and gum disease increases the risk of a heart attack.
Health testing and screening is just one part of an overall proactive planning process for aging. At Proactive Seniors we also focus on prevention so that our clients know what their particular risks are that may impact their ability to thrive in their homes and how they can best mitigate those risks to stay healthy, happy and safe longer. Please reach out if you would like to discuss how we can help create a Proactive Plan or help find the best place to live if home is no longer the best option.
Affordable Eye Exams for Seniors – dailycaring.com
Screening tests for older adults – Fraser Health Authority
Medical Tests in your 60s and Up (webmd.com)
https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/Pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=hw27039 (cervical cancer screening Alberta)
https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/Pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=tc4072 (osteoporosis screening Alberta)