Do you notice that your file of medical records is better kept for your pets than yourself? School record requirements kept your children’s healthcare history well documented and you probably even knew where it was. Well what about you? Do you remember your last mammogram, bone density or blood workup? Sometimes we forget about ourselves.
For all age ranges, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has some recommended general screening and immunization guidelines. Of course, your own healthcare provider will personalize the timing of exams, tests and immunizations based on your personal needs.
There are no general differences for checkups and tests in women’s reproductive health in this age bracket. The pelvic exam has become a routine part of the annual exam along with routine lab work, skin health, weight and height. The recommendation for a pap test is at least once every three years. You should have a chlamydia test if you have a new or multiple partners as well as testing for other sexually transmitted infections. If you have never had an HIV test, get one to find out your status. A proactive discussion and consultation with your physician will determine the timing and necessity for having or repeating any of these tests.
In addition to your monthly self-exam, a clinical exam of your breasts should be scheduled yearly. The mammogram X-ray of your breasts should continue to be every one to two years and will be determined by you and your healthcare provider. Personal and family history may determine that the exam and mammogram schedule be more aggressive.
The most significant change for women ages 50 to 64 is attention to colorectal health. It is recommended that you use one of three methods to determine health. The first is the fecal occult blood test which will become part of your annual exam. A second method to determine colorectal health is the flexible sigmoidoscopy in conjunction with the fecal occult blood test. This test is recommended every five years. Finally, recommended every 10 years is a colonoscopy.
Keep your heart healthy by continuing proper diet and exercise.