Health screenings are an important part of understanding your unique needs in terms of your health and wellbeing. A health screening is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s an examination to identify a broad variety of health conditions and complaints. This can, of course, help diagnose potential issues of varying levels of severity, and also provide information in terms of increased risk factors of developing a health problem.
To be clear, health screenings are routine. They do not mean that a serious health issue is anticipated. Rather, it can be thought of as a way to provide reassurance. Health screenings are there as a preventative measure and to ensure any issues are identified early to give you the best chance of successful treatment.
Why health screenings are recommended for men over 65
The reason that health screenings are recommended for those over 65 is simple: there are several health conditions which become more prevalent beyond that age. This can include high blood pressure, diabetes, and vision issues, to give a few examples. We’ll provide a more exhaustive list below.
There are also some differences in the ailments likely to impact men and women. Another example – one which combines the importance of both age and gender – is that cardiovascular disease develops up to 10 years earlier in men than women. That’s why this look isn’t just at health screenings, but the importance of health screenings for men over 65 specifically.
Important health screenings for men 65+
If you’re wondering what kind of health screening may be appropriate for you or your loved one, the good news is that the criteria is straightforward and easy to understand. For instance, the following should be checked on a regular basis, regardless of additional health factors:
This should be checked a minimum of once every two years. You may need additional appointments if you have other relevant conditions, like diabetes or kidney problems, or have a high diastolic number.
Even if normal, cholesterol should be checked once every five years. More checks will be needed if you have high cholesterol or other related conditions.
There are several tests relevant to colorectal cancer. These include stool-based faecal occult blood (gFOBT) or faecal immunochemical tests (FIT); a stool sDNA-FIT test; a flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography or colonoscopy.
How often these tests must be taken depends on the test type used, alongside other risk factor considerations. Contact your GP to discuss the best option for you.
Everyone over 65 should get a diabetes screening over three years – and possibly more if you have other risk factors such as being overweight.
Twice a year is generally recommended for dental check-ups. Of course, your dentist will be able to provide details on any necessary further visits.
Most experts recommend an eye exam every one or two years, with the former being recommended for those with diabetes.
There are a few immunisations that are offered regularly. For instance, over 65’s will be offered a flu shot every year and a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years. Vaccines for shingles and pneumococcal vaccine should also be offered by this age.
A more general yearly physical exam is also recommended. This can provide medical professionals with an insight into your physical and also mental wellbeing and can help catch many issues unfound by more specified testing.
There are also additional health screenings for those with relevant risk factors. These include:
Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
This is offered to anyone between 65 and 75 who has smoked.
It won’t surprise anyone to learn that hearing tests are recommended for anyone with symptoms of hearing loss.
The suggested annual screening actually begins at age 50 and goes up to age 80. This is generally recommended if you fall within this age range, have a 20 pack-a-year smoking history, and either currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years.
This would only be viewed necessary if there were risk factors or symptoms that would suggest a need for an infectious disease screening.
There are several risk factors for osteoporosis, including fractures over 50, smoking, heavy alcohol usage, body weight steroid use, age and family history. Talk to your GP for information on whether such tests are relevant to you.
Any signs of skin cancer found during a physical exam will need to be tested, especially if you have had skin cancer before, have a weakened immune system, or have a family history of skin cancer.
There is currently no screening process for prostate cancer, as the risks are considered to outweigh the potential benefits. However, there is an informed choice process for men over 50. Simply ask your GP about PSA testing for more information. These tests can be carried out for free by the NHS.