Healthy Aging - Getting the Medical Care You Need
prevention, regular checkups, and prompt treatment play a key role in your
quality of life as you age.
Your grandparents' generation had few
protections from life-threatening conditions, but you now have the advantage of
immunizations and regular screenings. To maximize your odds of living a longer,
higher-quality life, make sure you get all screenings and immunizations that
are recommended for all people over age 50:
- Preventive health screenings for both men
and women include blood pressure checks, cholesterol screening, colorectal
cancer screening, hearing and vision tests, and dental exams. Men are also advised to discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctors. Women may be advised to also have a
regular breast exam and mammogram as well as a pelvic exam and Pap test to screen for breast cancer and cervical cancer.
For detailed information on these and other recommended health screenings, see
Early Disease Detection.
immunizations include tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis boosters, a yearly
influenza (flu) shot, shingles vaccine, and pneumococcal vaccine. For detailed
information on these and other recommended immunizations, see the topic
For more information, see the
Interactive Tool: Which Health Screenings Do You Need?
Managing your health care
Be an informed health care consumer. When concerned about a medical condition,
read as much as you can about it and its possible treatments. Make a list of
unanswered questions and talk to your doctor about them. Explore all treatment
options before deciding how to treat a problem, and get at least one second
opinion if you're considering a surgery, medicine with dangerous side effects,
or experimental treatment. For more information, see the topics
Making Wise Health Decisions and Making the Most of Your Appointment.
Be your own best health advocate. Make it your goal to work in
partnership with your health professionals. In general, people who make health
decisions with their health professionals are happier with the care they
receive and the results they achieve. It's important to share in every decision
about your health. The decisions you make influence your overall well-being as
well as the quality and cost of your care. Whenever you have a medical
- Bring your health and medicine history with
you, as well as a list of questions you want answered during your appointment.
- Make sure you understand your doctor's key points about your
health and any possible tests and treatments.
- You can bring along
a friend or family member to support you and help you remember key information
for later on. This can be especially useful when you're under a lot of physical
or emotional stress.
For more information about how to work in partnership
with a doctor, see the topics
Work Closely With Your Doctor and
Smart Decisions: Know Your Options.