As you enter your 50s, preventative care becomes even more vital to continuing strong health. After all, planning ahead with your health in mind will keep you thriving in the decades to come, allowing you to make the most of your retirement years. Continuing to grow your relationship with your healthcare provider will help you spot any early warning signs in time to react and keep your health going strong. Here are a few preventative care exams and screenings to incorporate into your healthcare routine in your 50s.
Depending on your personal risk factors, your healthcare team might suggest an osteoporosis exam. This is also known as a bone density exam, the only way to identify low bone density before a bone breaks.
There are several types of tests, but most are noninvasive scans. The most common uses a central DXA machine, utilizing x-rays to scan your spine and pelvis and identify osteoporosis. If you are post-menopausal and have recently broken a bone, you may be at higher risk for osteoporosis. But other risk factors can come into play as well, so when you reach your 50s, it’s a good idea to speak with your provider about your testing options.
In your 50s, you should continue your annual prostate digital rectal exam as part of your healthcare routine. This simple procedure involves your medical provider inserting a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate for lumpy, hard, or unusual areas. This procedure is typically only mildly uncomfortable at the most, and lasts only a few moments. But the information it can provide in your preventative care is invaluable.
In your 50s, your provider may recommend a fecal occult blood test annually. This screening requires a fecal sample and tests for “occult” blood in the stool. It can help signal early warning signs of colon cancer, even before any symptoms express themselves. If the test comes back positive, your provider may recommend additional tests, like a colonoscopy.
Even when annual fecal occult blood tests come back negative, your provider will likely recommend a screening colonoscopy every ten years. Your provider will use a flexible, thin, lighted tube to check for cancer inside your rectum and colon. They will be able to identify and remove polyps and some cancers. It’s important to discuss your specific history with your provider, since different risk factors can impact how often this test may be recommended for you.
In your 50s, the time has come to pay closer attention to your hearing by scheduling a hearing test annually. As we age, hearing loss can happen so gradually it can be easy to miss the signs. But by catching hearing loss as early as possible, you may be able to make adjustments to your habits or environment to help protect your hearing longer.
Preventative care can help you enjoy all that life has to offer. Make the most out of every day when you work towards your preventative care checklist with top professionals. The staff at CHP are here to help; contact your nearest clinic to get answers to your questions and schedule your annual visit.
For more information about the preventative care, you should be doing at every stage of life, download our Preventative Care Checklist.