Many older people are reluctant to actively seek out preventative medical testing unless they are strongly encouraged to by friends and family.
A good annual physical will routinely include tests that screen for diabetes and heart disease. If the patient is sexually active, screening for STD’s may also be included. Recent guidance from the medical establishment now calls for routine screening for depression.
Beyond the routine physical examination and its associated blood tests, there are additional tests designed to detect and give early warning of disease in people who otherwise appear healthy. These tests can save lives and help limit the severity and progression of disease.
By finding evidence of disease while it’s still “hidden,” these tests enable physicians to intervene and begin treatment at the earliest when it can be most effective.
Experts can disagree about which tests are the most critical, at what age you should take them, how often and at what point they are no longer necessary.
Here are three tests for which there is strong medical consensus.
The aorta is the body’s largest blood vessel. It runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen. A ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can be life-threatening.
The Test: Ultrasound imaging of your heart and aorta
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death within the United States. Typically affecting older adults, it can happen at any age. Doctors are uncertain regarding the cause of most cases.
What is it: Small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called polyps form on the inside of the colon. Over time, some polyps may become colon cancers.
Early detection and removal of polyps can significantly reduce incidence and mortality. The 2018 American Cancer Society (ACS) guideline concludes that there is a “favorable benefit-to-burden balance of screening adults at average risk beginning at age 45.” The 2008 guideline recommended beginning screening at age 50.
Colorectal Cancer Screening Options
If you are 55-80 years old and a pack-a-day smoker or one that has quit smoking in the last 15 years, consider undergoing LDCT. (low-dose computed tomography).
The Test: The patient lies on a table that slides in and out of the X-ray machine. Multiple images are combined to make a highly detailed composite image of the lungs.
The recommendation supporting the use of LDCT for at-risk patients, comes a couple of caveats.
Please keep in mind that the risks and benefits associated with these screening tests change as you get older. Your Longeviti Health physician has additional information on each of these tests and more importantly, their particular relevance to you given your personal medical history and current physical condition. www.longeviti.health
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