Marissa Sandler is the CEO and co-founder of Careseekers. Previously a social justice lawyer and researcher for over 15 years, Marissa is passionate about helping people live with dignity and finding innovative solutions to problems.
The best way to keep healthy and on top of things as you age is to regularly check on the parts of the body that are most susceptible to things going wrong. Although tests and check-ups can be time consuming and uncomfortable they are very important. In addition, there is a feeling of calm that will come over you once you get the all clear.
1. Blood pressure – Not addressing rising blood pressure can lead serious diseases affecting kidneys, heart, eyes.
2. Keeping an eye on your weight – As you age the weight can creep up on you and before you know it you are classified as overweight or obese. Keeping the weight off is the best prevention against heart disease and many cancers.
3. Cholesterol levels – It is very important for overall health to keep your cholesterol down.
4. Checking moles on your body – Many GPs are now trained to monitor moles, it’s often much easier (and more affordable) than going to a skin specialist. If you have grown up in the Australian sun there is simply no excuse to not keep an eye on your skin every year.
More intrusive tests
1. Diabetes – To check your blood sugar levels, you need to do a fasting blood sugar test every three years. It’s no fun but a very important test you need to have as you age. Type two diabetes represents 85-90 per cent of all cases of diagnoses diabetes.
2. Vision – After the age of 54 you should get your eyes checked every one to three years. Check for glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration.
3. Hearing – check your hearing as disabling hearing loss can be treated.
4. Mammograms – Every single year ladies. No excuses!
5. Bone density – Check your bone density especially if you have a family history of osteoporosis.
The MOST intrusive tests
1. Colonoscopy – Men and women from 50 -75 need to be screened for all types of colorectal cancers. Other tests that can do this include a sigmoidoscopy and faecal occult blood testing.
2. Pap smears and pelvic examinations – Women need to continue to have these tests done until a doctor advises that they can be stopped.
3. Prostate screening – 90 per cent of prostate cancer diagnoses are in men aged 55 and over.
If this all feels a bit overwhelming simply visit your GP and explain to them that you want to start the tests, they will help you book them in, receive results and send you reminders when you need to do them all over again. Remember prevention is always better than cure.