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  1. Before you know you have it, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, and eye and kidney problems. So get your blood pressure checked at least once a year, even if you think you're OK.
  2. Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. At 50, your risk goes up. You and your doctor can decide which colon cancer screening is best for you.
  3. A bone mineral density scan checks your risk for osteoporosis, or bone thinning. Once you turn 60, talk to your doctor to see if it's time to start screening. 
  4. Twenty-seven percent of Americans, 65 and older, have diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney disease, even amputation. Work with your doctor to avoid these hazards.
  5. There's plenty you can do on your own to stay healthy as you age. Quit smoking -- or don't start. Eat healthy and exercise regularly to keep a healthy weight. And always practice safe sex.

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Henry S. Lodge, MD, is an associate clinical professor of medicine at Columbia University and co-author of Younger Next Year...More

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Vitality at 50 and Beyond

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