Health screening can often save a life or keep someone you love from a surgery or health complication. Being an RN, I frequently get calls from family and friends asking my advice on health issues. But you don’t need an RN to help someone you care about. As a mother, grandfather, aunt etc, you can help your children and other family members by gently reminding them of basic health screening procedures. Certainly how you live greatly contributes to health. Dr. Steven Rabin states: “
It gradually and consistently adds up.” So along with the following age appropriate screening tests, I am adding some lifestyle recommendations. File this information:
In your 20s
- Cholesterol testing: starting at 20 be tested every 5 years
- Blood pressure: starting at 20, be checked every 2 years
- Clinical breast exam: every 3 years starting at 20; annually at age 40
- Pap smear: starting at 21; then every 3 years
This is the time to build bone through weight-bearing exercise. Adopt a diet of lean meats, vegetables and fruits, limit alcohol and don’t smoke. If you do, quit. Dr. John Armato MD states: “Cholesterol starts penetrating blood vessel walls at age 2. Fifteen percent of teenagers are halfway to a heart attack.”
In your 30s
- TSH (thyroid) screening: starting at 35, then every 5 years
During the reproductive years, women should take a multivitamin daily to ensure they are getting enough folic acid, a vitamin that reduces the risk of birth defects. Women should conduct regular breast self-exams and men testicular self-exams.
In your 40s
- Mammogram (women only): annually starting at 40
- Blood glucose test: every 3 years starting at 45
Your muscle mass will start declining so incorporate strength training and interval training into your workout. Women with menstrual and hormonal changes that are troubling should talk with their doctor. This is also the big decade for depression as children grow, marriages are tested, work becomes more demanding and overall life more complicated. Find a doctor who won’t just write you a script for a sleep aid.
In your 50s
- Colonoscopy: starting at 50, then every 10 years
- PSA test (men only): at 50 if you and your doctor determine the need to do so
Women should have a fact-based discussion with their doctor about hormone replacement therapy. Men should have the same with their doctor about PSA testing. This is also the age to establish a medical power of attorney and an advanced directive. (see links below)
In your 60s
- DXA bone density scan (women only): starting at 65; then every 1 to 2 years if on osteoporosis medication
- Vision exam: annually starting at 65
Keep your mind and body healthy by exercising both. It’s use it or lose it time. Also continue considering advance care planning so if you face a health crisis, you are prepared.
In your 70s and beyond
- DXA bone density (men only): at age 70
More of the same: exercise, volunteer and cultivate cognition. Do anything that will help keep your mind sharp. If you are having memory problems, consult your doctor for cognitive testing.
Help your family by reminding them of age-appropriate health-screening.
Medical Power of Attorney: http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Medical-Power-of-Attorney
Thanks to Providence Health
Thanks to Google Images