The frequency required for routine medical exams rises concurrently as we get older. Physical changes, like a diminished immune system, make older adults more susceptible to certain illnesses and diseases. The prevalence of several health conditions also tends to increase with age, making preventative approaches to health more important than ever. the risk of contracting different illnesses varies with specific ages, but generally it as around the age of 60 that regular medical tests should not be ignored. Often, catching a health problem in its early stages makes all the difference for treatability and healing.
Essential Medical Exams for Seniors
There are several routine health assessments that older adults should undergo on a regular basis. Some of the most critical exams, may include:
- Blood pressure test
- Cholesterol screening
- Eye exams
- Hearing tests
- Dental exam
- Blood-glucose assessment / diabetes check
- Bone density scan
Blood Pressure Test
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a very common health condition in adults. Studies show that 1 in 3 adults of all ages test for elevated blood pressure, and that number goes up to around 2 in 3 after the age of 65. Hypertension is frequently referred to as the silent killer because symptoms may not be noticeable until a stroke or heart attack occurs.
Seniors should have blood pressure checked at least one a year, so steps can be taken to lower blood pressure levels in the case of hypertension.
Cholesterol levels in the body can be determined as a result of blood work, so technically this could fall under the blood test category. High cholesterol is another very common issue for older adults, which can lead to heart problems and other health issues. There are 2 types of cholesterol found in the body, LDL an HDL. LDL is what is known as bad cholesterol, that can indicate the risk of cardiovascular disease. HDL is considered healthy cholesterol, as it can help rid the body of excess cholesterol.
Some degree of vision impairment is a natural part of the aging process, in fact experts recommend getting regular eye exams starting at around age 40. After 40, the internal lenses in our eyes become less flexible and have more difficulty shifting focus from near to far objects, and vice-versa. This type of issue is easily rectified with corrective lenses.
However, there are other more serious eye conditions that can result in permanent vision loss, like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Regular eye exams help to identify these severe issues before they get out of hand.
Hearing loss is another inevitable part of getting older, but unlike serious eye problems, most hearing loss is treatable. While regular hearing tests aren’t as crucial as eye exams, it is still recommended to undergo hearing tests every 2 or 3 years after the age of 65, even if there are no urgent problems. Extensive hearing loss can seriously impact the ability to live an independent lifestyle.
Many people are unaware of the importance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Decaying teeth or oral infections can lead to more severe health issues. A healthy mouth is directly related to maintaining good overall health. In some cases, medications can present side effects that can impact dental health.
Regular dental check-ups help to maintain health and wellbeing, and can even indicate the presence of underlying health issues. Many systemic health conditions exhibit oral symptoms which can be detected by dental exams.
Type 2 diabetes is a very prevalent disease for older adults. High blood-glucose levels, also known as hyperglycemia, indicates a high risk for developing type diabetes. In many cases, people live with diabetes for prolonged periods without even being aware. Since symptoms are often difficult to identify, it is essential to get regular blood sugar readings to help prevent the onset of the disease.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with a number of other health issues like high blood pressure, kidney failure, and cardiovascular disease.
Bone Density Scan
Another very common health condition among the elderly is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, which literally translates in to “porous bones”, is a health problem that is characterized by the thinning and weakening of the bones. This puts people with osteoporosis at a much higher risk for fractures, breaks, and mobility problems.
Bone mass and density decline with age, especially for seniors that lead a sedentary lifestyle. Even just a minor a fall could result in severe and persisting injury if osteoporosis is an issue. Regular bone density scans are highly suggested after the age of 65 to help prevent the onset of osteoporosis, and if caught early the disease can be managed.