Some tests are for everyone – with heart disease
being unfortunately common, getting older means it's important to look for warning signs. For other conditions, you and your healthcare team may notice family patterns or personal indicators of trouble.
If there's a question, discuss your situation with your healthcare team.
Check your heart + lungs.
If you or your doctor has concerns about your overall health, energy level, shortness of breath or chest pains, you may need an ekg (electrocardiogram), a baseline cardio stress test or an x-ray to check for pneumonia. You know the risk factors: Overweight, poor eating habits, couch potato, stressed out. Discuss diet, exercise + family histories with your healthcare team and follow recommendations.
Get a breast exam, pap smear + colonoscopy.
These are for everyone after 50, on a regular basis. Get extra tests if you have signs of trouble. Keep track of changes in your skin. Any form of cancer is most treatable when caught early. You and your healthcare team are the only ones who can do the catching. Follow your doctor's recommendations.
Be aware of the signs of diabetes.
Especially if it runs in your family. Our US national diet has brought Americans more diabetes now than ever. Like other conditions, catch it early and it's not so hard to control. Learn the symptoms. Exercise. Watch your diet.
Troubles with your liver?
Your liver may be at risk from certain medicines, drug or drink habits, exotic wilderness ventures, chemical pollutants. The liver does re-grow, but needs to be protected. Blood tests for enzymes help keep watch. In certain cases, your doctor may want a biopsy to get a clearer picture of the situation.
Worried about Alzheimer's? Osteoporosis? Rheumatism?
Your healthcare team knows how to keep track of your problems and your progress in dealing with them. It doesn't help to guess what's going on – if you have an issue, get the tests. Know what's up. Find out how to respond.