September is Healthy Aging Month, so there’s no better time to make sure you’re doing everything you can to preserve your health. Along with living a healthy lifestyle, seeing your doctor regularly for preventive care is important for long-term good health. According to the CDC, if everyone in the U.S. received recommended clinical preventive care, more than 100,000 lives could be saved each year. Here are a few items to ask your doctor about at your next visit:
Heart Disease Screenings
Regular screenings to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels can help you identify and control your risk for heart disease. These screenings can also help you better understand your risk for related issues like diabetes and stroke. Your doctor can recommend a screening schedule that’s right for you. Sometimes these screenings require you to fast beforehand, so check with your doctor’s office when you schedule your next visit so you can come prepared.
Cancer screenings should also be discussed in your routine wellness visits as you age. The types and frequency of screenings may vary based on your individual needs, but some of the most common include colorectal cancer screenings like colonoscopies and mammograms to screen for breast cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that adults age 50 to 75 be screened for colorectal cancer. The USPSTF also recommends women age 50-75 get a mammogram biennially, but some women may benefit from beginning screenings earlier or getting them more regularly.
Bone Density Screenings
Osteoporosis is a disease in which the density and quality of bone is reduced, which greatly increases the risk of fracture. The USPSTF recommends bone density screenings for women over the age of 65 and postmenopausal women under the age of 65 at an increased risk for osteoporosis. Men over the age of 70 may also benefit from bone density screenings and should discuss appropriate testing with their doctor.
You may think of vaccinations as a part of childhood doctor visits, but adults need them, too. The CDC recommends older adults receive an annual flu vaccine along with vaccinations for pneumococcal disease (which can cause pneumonia and other infections), shingles, and others. Your doctor can determine which vaccines you need based on your health history, previous immunizations, and lifestyle.
The screenings and vaccinations mentioned here are just a few of the things your doctor can do to help you live a healthier life. To schedule your next appointment or find a new doctor, call Health Trust Physicians Clinic at (515) 462-2950.