For this blog I thought a little change of pace would be nice. I have chosen to pass on some good advice on your general health. The information is taken from an article I read in the Harvard
Medical School News Letter. I know that some of it is very obvious and nothing new. However, I believe most of us will find something of value here.
“Given the three most common causes of death as we age-heart attack, cancer and stroke-we can perform screening tests to reassure patients. Hopefully they will not have to suffer from one of these top three causes of death in adults 65 and older,” explained geriatrician Michele Eslami, MD, from UCLA Health System.
Doctor Eslami stated that there are FOUR screening tests that are vital to all older adults:
- Skin Cancer: You need to check your body for any changes in moles, freckles, or spots. Have someone look at your back and behind your legs. Be sure to see a dermatologist regularly. A semi-annual check-up especially here in sunny Southern California is about right for most people.
- Colonoscopy: While not a popular test (really?), a colonoscopy is essential to finding polyps that could be life-threatening. You should get your first colonoscopy by age 50 and every 10 years thereafter. If you or your family has a history of polyps, your doctor will probably recommend testing more often.
- Blood work: Each year, you should at least have a doctor check your cholesterol, blood pressure, and fasting glucose. Blood may also be drawn to assess hormone levels such as liver enzymes, electrolytes, and other markers.
- TSH (Thyroid) Test: To determine the levels of the thyroid-stimulating hormone generated by the body. Women 60+ and men 70+ should get yearly TSH tests. The thyroid gland affects a large number of bodily functions and is critical to good health.
- Glaucoma: A yearly eye exam with a glaucoma screening is recommended. If you experience any impaired vision, you need to get immediate attention. Problems such as a detached retina can be fixed if caught very early.
Dr. Eslami advises that WOMEN also pursue the following four screenings:
- Cervical Cancer: After the onset of menopause, you should get a cervical cancer screening and then three PAP smears over the next ten years according to Dr.Eslami.
- Mammogram: Even without symptoms of breast cancer, you should get a screening mammogram beginning in your 40s and then each year or two after that.
- Bone Density Test: To assess the presence of or risk of osteoporosis scans should start at 60 for those with a higher risk for fractures or with a low body weight, and at 65 for everyone else.
Two screenings are important for MEN:
- PSA Test: The prostate-specific antigen test should begin around 40 to determine a baseline. This test is controversial. Elevated scores or family history would suggest higher risk for prostate cancer and lead to more frequent screenings. While false positives are a possibility, most urologists recommend it.
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening: You should have at least one test between 65 and 75, especially if you were a smoker or have an immediate family member who needed treatment for an enlargement of the aorta. A ruptured AAA can prove fatal quickly.
So there you have it. I hope you found something helpful in this information. Personally I do all of the above but I am not much of a fan of doctor office visits. My wife just nags me until I go in.
Tip of the Day. Think about taking Fish Oil dietary supplements. I do. There appears not to be any downside while the upside looks quite good. Fish oil appears to lower triglycerides, reduce inflammation, benefit the heart and have a positive effect on depression. Check it out on the internet for all the details.