Medication For Anemia With Fatigue Hair Loss And Weight Gain Stay Healthy Over 50 With These Medical Tests!

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Stay Healthy Over 50 With These Medical Tests!

It’s a new year, and many of my patients are coming in for their annual checkup. Maybe you are scheduled to visit your doctor for your annual physical as well. I always like to remind my patients of Ben Franklin’s old adage – “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Nothing could be truer when it comes to your health. However, prevention comes in many forms, from making sure you get the optimal nutrition, rest and exercise to being proactive and getting the right medical tests to screen for any problems.

If you are over the age of 50, the following medical tests are smart-thinking health screening:

Complete physical exam: This includes the following:

• weight taken

• urine sample

• heart and lungs checked by listening with a stethoscope

• blood pressure taken

• routine EKG and chest x-ray

Important blood tests: Routine blood work is almost always done with a physical exam. This is the CBC, or complete blood count, which measures hemoglobin/hematocrit, red blood cell indices that can screen for anemia, and white blood cells that can warn of an infection. The differential in the CBC measures different components in your blood to see where abnormalities may lie.

A BUN, or blood urea nitrogen, measures how well your kidneys are working. Electrolytes, controls sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride levels and shows if you are dehydrated, lack of these crucial minerals, or perhaps, retention of water as can happen in heart or kidney disease.

A hemoglobin A1c test measures glucose levels in your blood. Too high (over 6.0) can mean a possible diabetes or prediabetic condition. Thyroid tests can screen for an underactive thyroid which can cause depression, weight gain, fatigue, cold intolerance and slow heart rate. Too high thyroid can cause palpitations, anxiety, intolerance to heat, arrhythmias and be a risk factor for heart disease. C-reactive protein and/or homocysteine ​​levels are markers for inflammation and possible heart disease. Cholesterol screening can show if you are at high risk for heart disease depending on HDL and LDL levels.

Immunizations: A tetanus toxoid must be updated every 7 years. This is especially important if you work around the house or at work where you may come into contact with rusty nails, metal, dirty conditions etc. Also, if you are at risk of getting the flu and/or pneumonia, you may want to get a Pneumovax vaccine for pneumonia and a flu vaccine.

Colon Screening: This may include Hemoccult stool charts (especially if you see blood during bowel movements) and/or a colonoscopy to screen for polyps or possibly other abnormalities of the bowel. If you have a family history of colon cancer and/or have experienced changes in bowel habits, pain, etc., it is important to have a colonoscopy.

Screen for skin cancer: Especially if you spend a lot of time in the sun and / or see age spots or other darkened areas of the skin, or changes in moles on your body.

Just For Women: In addition to the above, women over 50 need these specific tests:

• WC (waist circumference): The cut-off is 35″. Higher than that and you may be at risk for metabolic syndrome and/or heart disease which can affect women in menopause. Usually overweight/abdominal fat is the culprit and the risk increases off if you can get under 35.

• HPV with Pap: Also called DNA with Pap. This test screens for HPV, or human papillomavirus, the virus responsible for cervical cancer. This test is routinely negative for more than 95% of women who are tested, but can find cervical cancer early. If negative, testing every 3 years is acceptable.

• Pelvic Exam: Checks the condition of your uterus, ovaries, rectum, and how well your pelvic organs are supported. Generally, a stool blood test is also done. Or, if you prefer, you can get the Hemoccult cards and take them home and do the sample test yourself and return the card to your doctor’s office to read for results.

• Breast Exam: You probably do self-exams at home all the time, but a breast exam done by your doctor should be done at least once or twice a year.

• Bone Density Exam. This is a very quick, non-invasive, painless test where you lie on a table and a scan runs slowly over your body and measures the density of your bones. If you are a small-boned/framed low-weight woman, you need to monitor your bone health more closely.

• Hormone testing: Should be done to determine if you are menopausal or premenopausal, and/or if hormone replacement therapy may be needed depending on your symptoms. Bioidentical hormone replacement uses natural sources of estrogen to alleviate symptoms.

• Mammogram / Thermography: Women should get a screening mammogram by age 50. If you are not in a high risk group (carry the BRCA gene and / or have a family history of breast cancer) you may wait 2-3 years without to get another. Thermography is a new breast cancer screening device that uses heat sensing to detect abnormalities. Many health practitioners feel it is safer than traditional mammograms.

• Just For Men: Men over 50 also need the following specific tests:

• PSA, or Prostate Specific Antigen: This screens for possible prostate cancer. However, not all elevated PSA tests mean prostate cancer. Sometimes a condition called Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy can cause the PSA to be elevated, but the tissue is noncancerous.

• Testosterone levels: Should be done especially if you have fatigue, depression, low libido. If you have low testosterone, or “low T”, you can replace it with testosterone shots or use natural therapies.

Some of my patients joke that getting older means getting more and more medical tests. I won’t sugarcoat it; the list is a bit long. The good news is that, if testing is done regularly, you can be sure that you are on the right track in your quest to stay healthy long into your old age. However, the biggest plus is that they can find your problems early enough to have a successful outcome in treating them. In fact, some of my patients, after their annual exam and tests, go out and celebrate or give themselves a special treat! Works for me!

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