As you grow older, your need for regular medical checkups, especially geriatric tests, increases. Now is the time for you to take care of your happiness and health and monitor your body changes. Seniors need more careful monitoring and attention in old age. Some preventative measures include exercise, healthy eating, and even regular medical tests or aging tests. The elderly patient can communicate the test results to the doctor by performing the test at home and starting the treatment process faster. In Living Maples, we will discuss the critical medical tests that seniors over 60 should do to diagnose diseases on time.
Medical Tests for Seniors
Blood Pressure Test
The risk of high blood pressure increases with age. The CDC estimates that 64% of men and 69% of women between 65 and 74 have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it may not cause symptoms and increases stroke or heart attack risk. That’s why it’s essential to have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. Risk factors for high blood pressure include inactivity, stress, vitamin D deficiency, and too much salt in one’s diet. We should also note that high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, and even mental conditions such as dementia.
A complete blood cholesterol test is known as a lipid panel or, in some cases, a lipid profile. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the human body needs to function effectively. However, not all cholesterol is good for the body; hence doctors suggest a whole blood cholesterol test for seniors. In medical tests for seniors, the doctor must prescribe the necessary recommendations according to the lipid type.
- LDL is known as bad cholesterol, and high levels are associated with an increased risk of stroke, atherosclerosis, and heart attack.
- HDL is good cholesterol and is essential in lowering LDL levels in the body.
- Triglycerides as unused calories reside in fat cells. Its level is usually high in obese, diabetic, alcoholic, or people who consume a lot of sweets.
Research shows that the risk of high cholesterol is significantly associated with aging. In women, the risk increases after menopause. According to statistics, approximately 60% of the elderly over the age of 65 have high levels of bad cholesterol. Experts recommend screening for cholesterol every five years for people with normal cholesterol levels. However, they recommend more regular screening for people with risk factors such as inherited high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. To treat high cholesterol, doctors may recommend medication or even a change in diet or lifestyle.
With age, the risk of eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and even glaucoma increases. People with pre-existing eye conditions may experience worse problems. Experts recommend having an eye examination at least once every 1 or 2 years. However, people with diabetes should have an eye exam at least once a year. Therefore, an eye examination is also one of the necessary medical tests for seniors.
Urine Medical Tests
Urine tests are used to diagnose many diseases. The tests also detect the presence of sugar, protein, white and red blood cells, ketones, etc., each of which can indicate an illness. Furthermore, you can be diagnosed and treated promptly by performing a urine test and being informed of the results.
Bone Density Test
Medical tests for seniors are not just limited to blood tests. Bone density scan also measures bone mass, the primary indicator of bone strength. However, as the bone density decreases, their strength decreases, resulting in brittle bones and an increased risk of fractures. The International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that it affects 75 million people in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Also, the disease is estimated to cause at least 8.9 million fractures.
Statistics show that 1 in 5 men over 50 develops osteoporotic fractures. Osteoporosis is a severe concern in old age. You significantly increase the risk of permanent disability or death from severe fractures, especially pelvic fractures, if you have it. So take it seriously. Regular bone scans after the age of 60 are necessary for women. Some of the factors that increase the risk of osteoporosis include:
- Family history
- Personal history of fractures in adults
- Physical inactivity
- Poor nutrition and health
- Low testosterone levels in men
- Low estrogen levels in women
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Low body weight and weight loss
Vitamin D Test
Many people are deficient in vitamin D. One of the leading medical tests for seniors over 60 is the vitamin D test, which helps protect your bones. It may also protect against heart diseases, diabetes, and some cancers. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to have this test done annually.
Thyroid Hormone Screening
The thyroid is a gland in your neck that regulates your metabolism. Sometimes your body may not produce enough thyroid hormones. It can lead to slow metabolism, hair loss, weight gain or loss, fatigue and depression, and other problems. In men, it can also cause problems such as erectile dysfunction. Furthermore, a simple blood test can check your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and determine if your thyroid is working properly. Using medical tests for seniors, your doctor can diagnose disorders in a short amount of time and start treatment faster.
Diabetes is a potentially life-threatening and prevalent disease. The American Diabetes Association recommends that fasting blood sugar tests be performed at least once every three years. Suppose you are at risk for diabetes because of your lifestyle or history of diabetes in your family or other people. In that case, it is best to get tested for diabetes as soon as possible to prevent the effects of high blood sugar. Testing and checking blood sugar is especially important in elderly patients. Its sudden increase and decrease have a devastating impact on the health of the elderly.
Old Age Medical Tests for Women
Statistics from the National Cancer Institute show that 12.4% of women, or about 1 in 8 women living in Canada, are at risk for breast cancer. However, the risk of breast cancer increases with age. Factors such as hereditary genetic changes, family history of breast cancer, history of breast radiation therapy, alcoholism, long-term use of menopausal hormone therapy, obesity, and physical inactivity can increase breast cancer risk.
Based on breast cancer prevalence, women between the ages of 40 and 75 should have mammograms and geriatric tests at least once every 1 to 2 years. People at risk should pay more attention to breast cancer screening to prevent cancer from getting worse and metastasizing to other parts of the body with timely breast cancer screening and diagnosis.
Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear
According to experts, the Pap Smear test has played an essential role in reducing cervical cancer incidence. Women over 60 need regular pelvic exams and Pap smears. Pap smears can detect cancer of the cervix or vagina. Due to frequent deliveries and muscle mass loss, women’s pelvic floor muscles relax and become administrative incontinent with age. A pelvic exam can help with health issues such as urinary incontinence or pelvic pain.
Old Age Medical Tests for Men
Prostate Cancer Screening
According to statistics, prostate cancer is one of the most common diseases among seniors. In the United States, 35% of people with prostate cancer are between 65 and 65. In addition, 25% of people with the disease were 75 years of age or older. Doctors diagnose prostate cancer by digital examination or measuring the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood.
In men, the risk of prostate cancer increases significantly from about 50 years of age. It is the third most common cause of cancer death in men 80 years and older. Although experts still disagree about prostate cancer screening benefits, some recommend medical screening tests for middle-aged men in their 40s to 70s.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
The risk of AAA increases in people over 60 years of age and older. The disease has been reported mainly in 2 to 13% of senior men over 65 years. Although older women can get the disease, they are at lower risk. This risk is also higher among seniors who smoke.
Therefore, smokers between 65 and 75 should use ultrasound at least once a year for AAA screening. People with a family history of the disease may also be tested sooner. But seniors who have never smoked should consult their doctor to determine if screening is needed.
Just because you are getting older, do not think you can not be independent. Thus, you can maintain your health by choosing the most appropriate medical tests for seniors and having a better sense of your body.
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