After more than half a century of running like clockwork, it isn’t too surprising that many of us begin to suffer from health conditions as we get older. Often this is just as natural part of aging, but unfortunately there are certain more serious health problems that can creep up on us if we don’t keep a check on things.
Getting regular health checks as you reach the age of 60 and above is something that everyone should consider, whether you’re as fit as a fiddle or have underlying issues that already affect your lifestyle.
Here are 5 of the most vital checks to have at least once in a while.
When you reach the age of 60, you’re entitled to a free eye test every 2 years, then once a year when you hit 70. Of course, you’ll probably notice any deterioration in your eye sight, but there are other reasons why eye checks are important. (Image Source: Ken Teegardin)
Conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes and high blood pressure can also show up on an eye test, so they can be an important determination of your general health too. What’s more, if you are still driving then any worsening of your eyesight could mean that you are on the road illegally unless you wear the right lenses. You need to renew your driving licence at 70 years old and declare any health conditions that might affect whether you’re fit for the road.
A common killer of those aged 60 plus, what makes bowel cancer so deadly is the fact that there are often little or so signs associated with it. Affecting both men and women, it is vital to take the NHS up on the offer of a screening every 2 years if you’re aged between 60 and 74. Most importantly, this is because if the cancer is caught in the early stages then it can usually be cured easily with treatment. However the later that it’s diagnosed, the more likely that the cancer will be fatal.
So don’t be embarrassed about taking a stool test as a regular health check, it could save your life one day.
Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
A combination of genetics and lifestyle determine our cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and they can change over time even if you’ve previously had the all clear. Therefore it’s important to get a simple blood test and blood pressure check every few years just to make sure everything is ok. (Image Souce: Quinn Dombrowski)
Underlying health problems or new conditions can cause a raise is cholesterol levels and blood pressure even when your diet and lifestyle remains the same. If they go undiagnosed and untreated, it can have serious consequences such as heart attacks, heart disease and strokes. Your doctor can give you advice on ways to combat cholesterol or high blood pressure if you are suffering from it, so don’t be afraid to tackle the problem rather than risking worse consequences later down the line.
4. Healthy Breasts
Although there are a few cases of breast cancer amongst men, the overwhelming majority of cases are women. Just under 50,000 women are diagnosed with this condition each year, and it is another case of catching the disease early to prevent it causing more serious consequences. It’s easy to check your breasts at home, and if you notice any new lumps or bumps that are unusual you should consult your doctor immediately for a medical inspection. Occasional breast screening is also recommended to get the all clear from the doctors on signs that you might not be able to spot yourself.
5. Bone Scan
Osteoporosis may be more common with women, but it also tends to target men who are aged over 60. If you experience a fracture from a fall or minor accident, it’s possible that you could be showing symptoms of osteoporosis. (Image Source: Michael Dorausch)
In this case, it’s important get your bone density checked out with a DEXA scan. This fast and painless scan will tell you in no time whether you have a low bone density, and if so your doctor can advise you on the steps to take to minimize risk, such as mobility aids and lifestyle changes.
These are just a few of the tests that are vital for keeping track of your health as you get older, however they are by no means exhaustive. If you’re experiencing any health problems or worrying symptoms, it’s important to visit your doctor as soon as possible to discuss them. Don’t worry about looking like a hypochondriac; it’s far better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your body.