As we get older, our bodies start to change and our health starts to shift. We may start to notice the telltale signs of getting older in wrinkles and aches and pains, but some of the signs of aging start to show up in ways that might be harder to spot. Unlike when you were younger, waiting until you notice an issue may mean the damage has already been done. This is why, as you age, regular medical testing is key to staying healthy. Being proactive about your health means knowing the key places you’re likely to face issues.
Here are some of the main tests you should focus on getting once you hit 60:
Blood pressure tests
Hypertension is known as the “silent killer” because of how asymptomatic the presentation can be. Having elevated blood pressure can increase your risk of stroke and heart attack. With one in every three adults suffering from elevated blood pressure, it’s important to have your blood pressure checked at least once every three years.
Colorectal cancer exams
It might not be the most pleasant thing to consider, but a colonoscopy can be a lifesaving tool. A colonoscopy allows a doctor to scan your colon using a camera looking for cancerous polyps. These abnormal growths can lead to colorectal cancer. Once you turn 50, you should be getting a colonoscopy every ten years, more in you have a family history of colorectal cancer. If caught early, this type of cancer is highly treatable – so don’t be shy!
Hearing commonly declines with age, with many people finding that their hearing drops noticeably after 60. Higher frequencies were lost first, but over time it becomes common for other frequencies to go. It can be hard to notice hearing loss since our brains will learn to cope. However, regular testing will flag a loss of hearing, and the wide assortment of hearing aid devices can restore your hearing with ease.
Ideally, you should be having regular eye exams throughout your life. However, once you turn 40, you should get a baseline screening to see where your eyes are at. From there, your optometrist will tell you what further testing or treatment you may need. As you age, eyesight loss is common, but so is the risk of cataracts and glaucoma.
As you age, dental health becomes even more important. Many common medications you may take regularly as you grow older can negatively damage tooth health. Even over-the-counter medications like antihistamines and diuretics can negatively affect oral health. Other medications, especially those that cause chronic dry mouth, can cause tooth rot and gum disease. To avoid this, drink lots of water, brush and floss your teeth twice a day, and be sure to make annual visits to your dentist.
Blood tests for lipids
High cholesterol is a common issue in older adults. Performing a blood test for lipids can help your doctor gauge your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If it measures high, your doctor may recommend a better diet, some changes in your lifestyle or medications to reduce your levels. This will help lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke.