Health Checkup - 10 Types of Tests Seniors Need

Health Checkup - 10 Types of Tests Seniors Need

Growing older means increased awareness of our body and ailments that can occur frequently. At the same time, regular medical testing becomes a normal part of life. This makes a person proactive about his health and reminds him to monitor the changes in the body regularly.

Highlights

  • As a person grows, his awareness of health and ailments should also mature
  • Seniors should go for regular checkups to keep a close eye on their health
  • Blood tests, eye examination, bone density check among others, should be done regularly

What kind of tests senior citizens need?

Blood Pressure

According to statistics, 1 in 3 older adults has high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension. As per the journal Lancet, there were over 200 million people living in India with high blood pressure in the year 2015.

Hypertension is often attributed to the ‘silent killer’ as symptoms might not come to notice until it’s too late. Some severe health risks of hypertension include stroke and heart attack. 

So get your blood pressure checked by your doctor at least once in two years even if you are normal. You may need more screening if your blood pressure is higher.

Blood tests for Cholesterol

A decrease in healthy or good cholesterol and triglyceride levels can put you at the risk of getting a heart attack and stroke. 

According to cardiologist Dr. Deepak Mishra, AIIMS hospital, 50 percent of heart attack cases occur in people aged under 55. A survey conducted in major cities of India showed that 3 out of 10 people have high level of cholesterol.

Although the good news is high cholesterol level can be managed by healthy diet and changes in lifestyle. So regular screening is extremely necessary. Go for advanced lipid testing for detailed information.

Eye Examination

Eye diseases become common as you age. Some of the examples are glaucoma and cataract. Regular screening can preserve your vision. 

American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests a baseline of eye examination at the age of 40. Talk to your eye doctor about how often you should get screening.

Cancer Screening

Cancer is increasingly gripping the people around the world. According to WHO, every year 10 lakh cases of cancer are reported in India and everyday 1300 people die of this dreaded disease. 

After 50 years of age, colonoscopy should be done at least once in 10 years. The same goes for prostate cancer which can be detected by digital rectal examination.

For women, breast examination (mammogram) after 40 and pelvic exam after 60 is considered ideal. So early cancer detected, the more are the chances of treating the disease successfully.

Hearing test

Hearing loss is also a natural sign of aging. About 25 percent of people between the age of 65 and 74 have some kind of hearing loss. This percentage doubles after the age of 74. 

Most of the hearing disabilities are treatable. An audiogram test can reveal the amount of hearing loss by evaluating pitches and intensity levels.

Bone density check

Likewise hearing and eye problems, decrease in bone density or loss of bone tissue is a natural sign of aging. According to the WHO, Osteoporosis (loss of bone tissue) is a leading health problem after cardiovascular diseases. 1 out of 8 men and 1 out of 3 women in India are affected by Osteoporosis.

Talk to your orthopedist and go for bone density scan which indicates the strength of your bones. Women should undergo this test regularly after 65.

Dental exam

Gum disease affects people of every age. It may lead to natural teeth loss, especially in older people. You should undergo periodontal examination twice a year. Talk to a dentist get your mouth, teeth, gums, and jaw inspected.

Diabetes test

Diabetes kills 1 person every 6 seconds in some part of the world, while every 1 in 12 adults in India has diabetes. Fasting blood sugar or A1C test should be done once in every 3 years for better management. 

You might need more frequent tests if you have other risk factors such as obesity, family history, high blood pressure, etc.

Vaccinations

Older people over 65 should get a pneumococcal vaccine shot to prevent pneumonia and other infections. Every person over 60 should get vaccinated from shingles while tetanus shot once in 10 years is highly recommended.

Thyroid-stimulating Hormone Test

This one is often missed but thyroid diseases are increasingly taking over Indian population. According to statistics, India will closely follow the US in terms of highest number of thyroid cases by the year 2020. 

The thyroid gland in the neck which regulates metabolism in the body might not produce enough hormones or overproduce hormones.

Deficiency or overproduction of hormones via thyroid gland can cause a number of complications such as weight gain or weight loss, sluggishness, bulging eyes, tremors, etc.

A simple blood test can detect thyroid dysfunction. It should be done at least once in 5 years.

Do not forget that as you grow old visiting doctor is not enough to monitor your health. Healthy well-balanced diet, exercise and avoiding bad habits such as smoking among others should always be there on your list of tasks.

Sources

1. High blood pressure. (2017, November 13) read more
2. Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine. (2017, October 30) read more
3. Statistics about diabetes. (2017, July 19) 
read more