If you are wondering how often your parents should be visiting a doctor for general health checks, it is always good to go by the golden rule of once a year. Going for a comprehensive health check once a year allows your physician to discuss and schedule routine health screenings. It can also allow the doctor to identify small issues before they evolve into bigger problems. Having annual health checks is important as physiological changes like hormonal levels, cell function, and loss of bone density all increase health risks. Tracking all these changes along with having a good diet and exercise routine will ensure the health of your parents for years to come. Here is how often some important health checks should be conducted.
For Both Mum and Dad
- Skin Cancer Screening: According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is a higher health risk for women before age 50. After age 50, this health risk becomes higher for men. Going to the doctor for annual skin cancer screenings allows the doctor to examine the skin for new growths or abnormalities or to clear doubts that your parents may have about certain moles.
- Colorectal Cancer Screening: Starting from the 50s, this particular health check should be conducted every year for peace of mind. Colorectal cancer screening includes yearly tests like stool fecal occult blood and immunochemical tests. A colonoscopy is done every 5 to 10 years.
- Heart Health Screening: This includes a host of different screening tests. One of the most basic is blood pressure monitoring, which should be done every year. Cholesterol screening should be conducted every one to two years in healthy older adults. A high cholesterol level causes a plaque build-up in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart diseases and stroke. The frequency of screening should increase if your parents are overweight or at risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Blood Glucose Test: This should be conducted every one to two years to monitor the level of sugar in your blood. Blood sugar in the 100-125 mg/dl range indicates prediabetes, while blood sugar of 126 and over may indicate type 2 diabetes.
- Mammograms: This should be conducted every two years to monitor for the presence of abnormal growths in the breast tissue.
- Pap Smear and HPV Testing: Before the age of 65, pap smears should be conducted every 2 to 3 years. After the age of 65, pap smear screenings are no longer recommended for women who are not at increased risk for cervical cancer.
- Prostate Cancer Screening: Older adult men should go for annual prostate cancer screenings once every two years. If the prostate-specific antigen test is higher than 2, then screening should be conducted annually.
Health Is Wealth
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