Living Well

Take Charge of Your Health With Preventive Care

Last updated: Sep 11, 2017

Preventive care is an important part of healthy aging. It can help you stay healthier and independent longer. However, less than 50 percent of adults age 65 and older are up to date on preventive services and health screenings. Are you? Read on and then talk with your doctor about what screenings are right for you.

  • Health exam. Having regular checkups can keep you healthy. Your doctor will assess you and help you make a plan to stay as healthy as possible. 
  • Blood pressure screening. Without a screening, you won’t know if you have high blood pressure. It’s important to know because it can cause serious health problems, including stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure. Getting your blood pressure checked regularly lets your doctor monitor your levels and make lifestyle suggestions to lower them.
  • Diabetes screening. If you get screened regularly for diabetes, your doctor can assess your risk and recommend lifestyles changes. You can prevent or delay diabetes by being active, eating healthy, and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Colon cancer screening. Screenings can identify precancerous growths so doctors can remove them before cancer develops. These tests can also detect colon cancer in its early stages, when treatment is more successful.
  • Cholesterol and lipid screening. Most people don’t know if their levels are high or abnormal without getting a test. If your results are abnormal, or if you’re at high risk, your doctor will monitor your levels and suggest lifestyle changes to lower them. High cholesterol and lipid levels increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Other services. Talk with your doctor about other preventive care measures, including immunizations. Men should discuss prostate cancer screenings. Women should ask about osteoporosis screenings, cervical cancer Pap smears, and mammograms. Based on your age, gender, family history, and other risk factors, your doctor may order screenings more or less frequently than recommended in the charts on the next page.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss screenings and other health services. Taking advantage of preventive care puts you in charge of your health.