If you are a senior who already knows what preventive healthcare is and the importance of it, you may want to know what health screenings are recommended for you and when you should do them. The screenings that you need and the frequency in which you have to do them will depend on your age, your gender, lifestyle choices and genetic predisposition. Today we will show you a list of 5 preventive health screenings for seniors with the most important information about them.
- Breast Cancer Screenings
In the U.S, breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in women and it is estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. Fortunately, breast cancer can be treated successfully if is detected early.
Breast cancer can be detected through mammograms, which consist of taking an x-ray of each breast. It is recommended to start having mammograms when you are 50 until you are 75, every two years. After that, you can consult your doctor if need to keep doing them.
Take into consideration that this could change if you are at high risk of developing breast cancer. This occurs when you’ve had cancer in the past or you have a family history of breast cancer. In these cases, you could be asked to start doing mammograms earlier or more frequently.
- Colorectal cancer screenings
In the U.S, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer. This means that one in 22 men and one in 24 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime.
Colorectal cancer screenings are recommended for people between 50 and 75 years. After that, the decision of keep doing them will depend on your doctor.
The frequency will depend on the method that is used. Colonoscopies should be done every 10 years; T colonography, flexible sigmoidoscopies and double-contrast barium enema tests should be done every five years; and fecal occult blood tests should be done every year. In the previous cases, if the results are positive, a colonoscopy has to be done in order to confirm cancer.
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- Depression screenings
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 million people over 65 years suffer from depression every year in the U.S. Among seniors, there are different risk factors that can explain this statistic. Loneliness, dealing with multiple health conditions and disability are some of them.
Depression screenings usually consist in questionnaires that are applied to the patient. There is no upper age limit to do depression screenings and there isn’t an established frequency but some experts recommend them annually.
- Cholesterol tests
Having high levels of cholesterol in your blood can increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Getting blood tests to measure your cholesterol levels is important because there are no symptoms of having high cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol tests will measure the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) in your blood. It is recommended to do them every five years, but if your results show high cholesterol levels, you may be asked to do them more frequently.
- Bone mass measurements
A bone density scan measures your bone density to see if you are at risk of suffering osteoporosis or a fracture. Osteoporosis affects women with more frequency than men, and it is a disease that leads to frail bone because of a deterioration of bone tissue and low bone mass.
The scan is especially recommended for women over 65 years old and for men with high risk factors, like having previous fractures. You have to ask your doctor how often you should do it.