Preventive Measures -- at Any Age?
Screen Me for What?
- Have a test to detect if you have colorectal cancer. There are several kinds of tests. Talk with your doctor to find out which one is right for you.
- You may want to consider being checked for depression, especially if you have had feelings of sadness or hopelessness recently.
- Check your blood pressure at least every 2 years. A high blood pressure measurement is 140/90 or higher.
- If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may want to screen you for diabetes.
- Get a cholesterol profile regularly. Your doctor can help you plan a schedule.
- Have your weight and height checked so your body mass index (BMI) can be calculated. This helps to determine if you are overweight or obese.
Certain factors can put you at risk for
. If any of the following apply to you, talk to your doctor about getting an HIV test:
- Sexual relationship with a high-risk individual or a partner already infected with HIV
- Multiple sex partners
- Sex with someone who has more than one sexual partner
- Sex without using a condom, including vaginal and anal sex
- Having other sexually transmitted diseases
- Injecting illegal drugs, especially with used or dirty needles
- Regular exposure to HIV-contaminated blood or other fluids
- Having a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985
- Receiving donated blood products, tissue, organs, or artificial insemination before 1985 (infections from donated tissue after 1985 is unlikely due to strict screening processes)
- Uncircumcised penis—circumcised men are less likely to develop HIV infection than uncircumised men
- Talk to your doctor about being tested for other sexually transmitted infections.
- Men aged 65-75 who smoke or have smoked in the past may need to be screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Have a mammogram every 2 years to screen for breast cancer.
- Have a Pap smear every 3 years. If you have a human papillomavirus test with the Pap smear, you can have the testing done every 5 years. This length of screening applies as long as you have always had normal Pap smears. If you are over 65 years old and previous tests prior to turning 65 were normal, then you do not need any more Pap smears.
- Have a bone density test once you turn 65 years old to screen for osteoporosis. Women younger than 65 should talk to their doctor about whether they need to be tested.
Beyond Screenings, What Should You Do?
Prevention in a Pill?
Advice for Every Day
- If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit. Some steps toward quitting include cutting down on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day and switching to a brand that does not taste good. Check out different websites, like http://www.smokefree.gov , that offer ways to kick the habit.
- Exercise, even if you never have before. If you are new to physical activity, you may want to ask your doctor if you are healthy enough for exercise and how to begin. Try to work up to 30 minutes or more of moderate activity most days of the week. Some moderate activities include walking, dancing, swimming, and even mowing the lawn.
- Eat right. Take your diet seriously. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products. Also eat lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Avoid or minimize your intake of saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
- Watch your weight. Keep track of the calories you consume and the calories you burn off with activities.Work with your doctor to determine your ideal weight.
- Do not drink alcohol, or only drink in moderation. Moderate drinking typically means only 1 drink/day for women, and 2 drinks/day for men, although a man aged 65 or older should have only 1 drink/day. One drink is equal to one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
- Maintain a thorough, personal medical file. As we age, our medical care increasingly is handled by a series of specialists. Unfortunately, because of this, your primary care physician may not be fully aware of your medical conditions and ongoing treatment. Maintaining a complete and current listing of all of your treatments, including prescriptions and over the counter medicines, as well as diet and exercise routines, is more important than ever. Take your records with you each time you see a doctor.
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
National Institute on Aging http://www.nia.nih.gov
The College Family Physicians of Canadian http://www.cfpc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Annual mammograms now recommended for women beginning at age 40. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/About%20ACOG/News%20Room/News%20Releases/2011/Annual%20Mammograms%20Now%20Recommended%20for%20Women%20Beginning%20at%20Age%2040.aspx. Published July 20, 2011. Accessed February 23, 2015.
Cervical cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 18, 2014. Accessed February 23, 2015.
Mammography for breast cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 14, 2015. Accessed February 23, 2015
Men: Stay Healthy at 50+—Checklists for Your Health. AHRQ Publication No. 14-IP009-A, 2014 Update. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/men50.htm. Updated March 2014. Accessed February 23, 2015.
Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 16, 2015. Accessed February 23, 2015.
Screening for breast cancer. US Preventive Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsbrca.htm . http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsbrca.htm
Screening for breast cancer. US Preventive Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsbrca.htm. Updated September 2013. Accessed February 23, 2015.
Screening for cervical cancer. US Preventive Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspscerv.htm. Updated September 2013. Accessed February 23, 2015.
Women: Stay Healthy at 50+—Checklists for Your Health. AHRQ Publication No. 14-IP002-A, 2014 Update. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/women50.htm. Updated April 2014. Accessed February 23, 2015.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2013 -
- Update Date: 03/15/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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