You get one body to live with and you want to keep it moving and functioning. Getting older shouldn't automatically mean you slow down. One of the best ways to stay on the move is with preventive health care. Key screenings and tests can help your doctor find medical problems early -- before they cause bigger problems that make them more complicated to treat.
Don’t let the cost keep you from having these tests. Most health plans, including Medicare, pay for preventive tests. Your doctor can help make the case if you need a test and may be able to direct you to free or low-cost programs.
Did You Know?
1. Blood pressure check. High blood pressure can cause a heart attack, a stroke, and eye and kidney problems -- without you even knowing your blood pressure is high. That’s why it’s important to get your blood pressure checked, even if you don’t think you have a problem. If your blood pressure is lower than 120/80, at least once every two years is usually fine. If your blood pressure is higher, then your doctor will likely want to check it more often.
2. Cholesterol screening. Heart disease is the top cause of death in the U.S. One of its main risk factors is a high blood cholesterol level.
It's recommended that you start getting your cholesterol tested at least once every four to six years beginning at age 20. A simple blood test shows your levels and risk for heart disease.
As you age, your risk for heart disease increases. If you are in your 50s, it's vitally important to continue getting screened.
3. Mammogram. As a screening test for breast cancer, experts agree that a mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer early. There's some debate about how often you should get one.
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all women between ages 50 and 74 have a mammogram once every 2 years.
- The American Cancer Society recommends a mammogram each year for women after age 40.