Why it pays to see the doctor when you’re not sick
In short, because it could keep you from getting sick in the future – with screenings and tests that can help keep you healthier and more independent.
According to the Center for Disease Control, “Fewer than half of adults 65 or older are up-to-date with core preventive services despite regular checkups.” These services “include immunizations, screening tests and counseling to prevent the onset of disease and disability.”
More than 100 different medical organizations each have their own different lists of preventive care recommendations, while the US Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF] has focused on these essentials:
- Colorectal Cancer Screening – For people 50 to 75 years old. Options include yearly stool blood testing, a colonoscopy, or a virtual colonoscopy, which is a 10 to 15-minute CT scan that doesn’t require any anesthetics.
- Blood Pressure Check – Your doctor will take your blood pressure as a routine part of every visit, but if you don’t see the doctor at least annually, you should get screened for high blood pressure every year.
- Cholesterol Screening– If you’re 40 to 75 years old, take a simple blood test every year to measure your cholesterol levels. If they’re high, if you have at least one cardiovascular risk factor, if there’s an increased risk of heart disease, taking statins can lower them.
- Hepatitis C Screening – If you were born between 1945 and 1965, the USPSTF recommends it annually.
- Depression Screening – Clinical depression can be damaging to all adults’ physical as well as mental health.
- Osteoporosis Screening – For women who are 65 and up, and for postmenopausal women who are younger, bone measurement testing can help stave off fractures of thinning bones.
- Breast Cancer Screening – Women 50 to 74 years old should get mammography every two years.
- Lung Cancer Screening – If you’re 55 to 80 years old, have a history of smoking, and haven’t quit within the past 15 years, you should schedule an annual low-dose CT scan for your lungs. Men aged 60 to 75 who have ever smoked, even if they quit more than 15 years ago, should get a one-time ultrasound to check for abdominal aortic aneurism; if undetected it can cause lift-threatening bleeding.
- Vaccinations – Shingles vaccine after age 50 or 60 (depending on the vaccine), pneumococcal vaccine and annual high-dose flu shot if you’re 65 or older.
Clearly, there’s more to good health than calling the doctor when you’re feeling sick. That’s why your health – your current health and diagnoses, your medication regimen, your doctor’s recommendations, your mobility, and your mental health – are just one part of our three-part assessment to determine specifically what a client’s individual needs are, which services are needed and which aren’t.
For senior care that’s focused on each individual senior, please call or contact us to arrange a comprehensive consultation.