Good health is key to enjoying your golden years. Prevention is key to
good health. And health screenings are key to prevention.
ATRIO Health Plans is using the occasion of
National Women's Health Week, which fittingly kicks off on Mother's Day (May 13), to increase awareness
about the preventive power of health screenings.
Following are general screening guidelines recommended by the National
Institutes of Health and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
for women age 65 and older. Each woman's health history, however,
should determine which health screenings are most appropriate and at what
age. So, the first step toward maximizing good health is scheduling an
appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss the screenings that
best meet your individual medical needs.
Blood pressure–Should be checked at least annually, even if it's in the normal
range. Those who have diabetes, heart disease, kidney issues, or other
risk factors may need to be checked more frequently.
Cholesterol– If your cholesterol level is normal, have it rechecked at least
every five years. Women with high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease,
kidney problems, or certain other conditions may need to be screened more often.
Colon Cancer–Up until age 75, you should undergo a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy
every 10 years. These procedures may be recommended more often if you
have risk factors associated with colon cancer, including ulcerative colitis,
a personal or family history of colon or rectal cancer, or a history of polyps.
Diabetes–If you're 65 or older and in good health, you should have a
diabetes screening every three years. If you have other diabetes risk
factors, such as being overweight, your healthcare provider many schedule
more frequent screenings.
Hearing and Vision–Aging often is accompanied by diminished hearing and vision capabilities,
but there are many options designed to bolster these important senses.
Periodic hearing and vision screenings are thus recommended throughout
your older adult life.
Immunizations–If you're over age 65 and have never had a pneumococcal vaccine,
request this immunization. Make the same request if your last pneumococcal
vaccine was more than five years ago. You should get a flu shot annually
and a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years.
Mammogram–Up to age 75, women should have a mammogram every one to two years,
depending on their personal history and risk factors. After age 75, consult
with your healthcare provider about continuing mammogram screenings.
Osteoporosis–Those 65 and older should have a bone density test to assess the
existence or risk of osteoporosis.
Pap Smear–If you're older than 65 and haven't been diagnosed with
cervical cancer or precancer, Pap smears can be discontinued provided
you've received three negative tests within the past 10 years.
Wellness Exam–Your healthcare provider should conduct a wellness exam every year.
Make a commitment during National Women's Health Week to put prevention
at the top of your medical to-do list.