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. Blood pressure testing should happen at least every two years. Cholesterol testing will be determined by you and your physician based on your personal needs. Bone health is becoming increasingly important at this age. During your next annual exam, discuss a recommended testing schedule with your healthcare provider. Bone density screening scheduled at the same time as your mammogram is a good way to remember to get it done as part of your healthcare management schedule.
A comprehensive eye exam should continue every two to four years until age 55 then it should be increased to one to three years unless otherwise advised by your doctor. Hearing tests should be scheduled and administered every three years after age 50.
Continue with routine dental exams annually or more often based on your needs.
Consult your physician about immunizations. She may recommend influenza vaccine. Starting at age 60 it is recommended that you get a herpes zoster vaccine. This is a one-time-only immunization to prevent shingles. And, if you have not had a tetanus booster in awhile, remember that you should have one every 10 years.
Keeping healthy and looking good is something every woman wants. Be aware of your posture because standing tall and confidently erect with a big, beautiful smile is gorgeous at any age.