If I’d been born 100 years ago, chances are I wouldn’t even be here today as the average life expectancy for women in 19017 was only about 47 years ago.
But even if today’s 50 year olds can expect to live much longer, as well as enjoy active lives, they still need to bite the bullet and take the needed medical exams once they turn 50. Here are a few medical tips, as well as some vital exams for both men and women over 50.
You may hate to go to the doctor, but once you hit 50 it’s crucial to get that yearly medical checkup if you want to enjoy the rest of your life. Expect to get blood work done prior to your examination date. If you struggle with a fear of needles, you’re not alone. I’m somehow who used to faint whenever I saw someone else getting a shot until I learned a little secret—-you just don’t look. It’s only a little trick, but if you tend to pass out when you get a shot or even see needles, just close your eyes and think of something pleasant as the nurse draws your blood. From blood work, your doctor checks everything from your cholesterol count to blood sugar and thyroid numbers for possible problems. At your annual physical, you’ll also get your blood pressure checked, as well as test your eyes and ears.
An electrocardiogram (EKG) checks the electrical activity of your heart by examining line tracings called waves. Don’t worry—it’s painless and unless you have a history of heart problems or relatives with heart disease, you don’t have to have it done every year.
No one enjoys getting a rectal exam, but it’s important you get it every year at your checkup once you’re over 50. What’s more, after 55, it’s recommended to get a colonoscopy to check for polyps. Doctors perform colonoscopies to examine the full lining of the both the rectum and colon, checking for polyps or reasons for pain in the abdomen. After your first colonoscopy, it’s advised to get a colonoscopy every ten years. If colon cancer is in your family medical history, it’s even more essential to not put off this lifesaving medical exam.
Medical Exams for Women Over 50
Thyroid Hormone Test—If you’re feeling fatigued, you may have a thyroid problem. Because aging can affect your thyroid, it’s recommend that women, especially, get their thyroid checked (through a simple blood test) once they’re 50. After that, they should have their thyroids rechecked every five years.
Pap smear and pelvic exam—Along with a annual physical, women over 50 should also get a pap smear, as well as a thorough pelvic exam to screen for cervical cancer cells. Women whose mothers and/or sisters had ovarian cancer are further urged to get a lower body ultrasound. It’s painless and the only thing that’s inconvenient is filling your bladder with six 8-ounce glasses of water for the test.
Mammogram—Women should get mammograms every year, even if they’re younger than 50. If breast cancer runs in your family, it may be necessary to be checked even twice a year.
Medical Exams for Men Over 50
PSA-Prostrate Exam—-Standing for “prostrate specific antigen”, the PSA prostrate exam spots signs of prostrate cancer cells. It’s recommened men get a PSA-prostrate exam every year, once they turn 50. If prostrate cancer runs in the family, then ask for the test earlier.
As a final note, be aware that these are standard medical examinations for the average person, aged 50 and older. If you feel you need more tests, then check with your doctor and don’t wait until your annual physical to be checked for any possible problems.
Healthy Means Happy