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The Importance of Preventative Health Screenings for a Proactive Lifestyle

June 27, 2023

Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? While consuming fruit on a regular basis is beneficial, good health encompasses more than just that. In today’s reactive healthcare environment, it is crucial to prioritize prevention. In the United States, healthcare spending exceeds $3 trillion annually, but only 3% of that is allocated to prevention efforts. This article emphasizes the significance of preventative health screenings for older adults who aspire to maintain an active and independent lifestyle.

Key Preventative Health Screenings

Blood Pressure Screening

High blood pressure is linked with a higher risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and kidney disease. Annual screenings are recommended as it is treatable through lifestyle changes and/or medication.

Cholesterol Screening

High cholesterol levels elevate the risk of heart disease and stroke. Check cholesterol levels every five years if they are within the normal range. Those with high cholesterol or other risk factors, such as heart disease, should monitor more frequently.

Diabetes Screening

Type 2 diabetes, the most widespread form of diabetes, is often without symptoms. As a result, it can go undetected for years. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to complications with the kidneys, eyes, blood vessels, and nerves, making it even more critical for seniors to stay on top of early detection. Adults over 45 years of age should undergo screening every three years to identify those at risk and enable preventive measures.

Osteoporosis Screening

Women over 64 and men over 70 should have their bone density checked annually. Early detection of osteoporosis allows for implementing treatments like moderate exercise, supplements, and medication to prevent fractures.

Cancer Screening

Breast

Women aged 55 and older should have mammograms every other year or annually if deemed necessary by their healthcare provider.

Lung

Yearly lung cancer screening is recommended for seniors who are current or former smokers.

Colorectal

All average-risk adults aged 45 and above should undergo annual colonoscopies.

Prostate

Men at average risk should consider screening starting at age 50.

Vision Exams

Yearly eye exams are essential for seniors in that many other health issues can affect vision, such as diabetes, and older adults with vision impairment are at greater risk for falls. Common eye conditions among older adults include cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

Dental Exams

Older adults may face dental issues such as periodontal disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Certain medications can cause dry mouth, leading to more cavities. Visiting the dentist every six months enables early detection and promotes oral health. So, if apples are your fancy, by all means, go for it. Just remember that it’s essential to complement such practices with preventative health screenings. Seniors can enjoy life and maintain optimal well-being by adopting a proactive approach. Remember to schedule your doctor appointments and prioritize preventative care to ensure a healthier future.