Health Milestone Schedule
Early detection is something we hear more and more these days. Whether there is a family history of certain conditions or not, we should have regular screenings to alleviate worry. It could mean the difference between finding a problem in time to treat or not. Any concerns that we have should be discussed with our general practitioners. They may recommend seeing a specialist to discuss early testing.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women have annual mammograms starting at age 45. At age 55, screenings should decrease to every two years. Some women with family history opt to start yearly screenings much sooner and most women are given the option to begin annual screenings at age 40.
Prostate screening is still being researched for its benefits. The American Cancer Society suggests that men discuss screening their prostates with their health practitioner by age 50. There are pros and cons to this type of testing. They also recommend that African-American men and men with a father or brother who had prostate cancer before the age of 65 begin screening talks with their doctors by age 45.
Both men and women should begin colon and rectal screenings at the age of 50. A flexible sigmoidoscope tests for polyps and cancer. This test should be given every five years. A colonoscopy also screens for polyps and cancer and only has to be administered every 10 years.
Bones with low density are easier to break, a condition known as osteoporosis. A bone density test can help identify and prevent future breaks if treated properly with medication and lifestyle adjustments. This can also show if our bone density is further declining.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone density screenings for:
- Women over 65 years old.
- Men over 70 years old.
- Someone who has lost more than 1 1/2 inches total height or 1/2 inch in one year.
- Women who are post-menopausal and have recently broken a bone.
- Men over 50 who have recently broken a bone.
There is no individual test that can diagnose Alzheimer's. Someone who has early signs of dementia should speak with their physician. A complete assessment can offer more insight. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer's, there is medication that can slow the progression of the disease. With early detection, a person can get the maximum benefits of the treatments available and prolong their independence.
The Alzheimer's Association recommends speaking with your physician about dementia when:
- Memory loss begins disrupting your daily life.
- Problem-solving and planning become challenging.
- Completing regular tasks at home, work, or leisure become difficult.
- Time and place become confusing.
- There are problems with words when speaking and writing that have not been present before.
- You misplace things and are unable to retrace steps.
- There is a noticeable decrease in judgment.
- There is a withdrawal from social activities.
- There are changes in mood and personality.
Keeping fit isn't just for looking good in our skinny jeans — we should include workouts for our brains. Nutrition and exercise both have roles in keeping our minds fit and agile. We should all integrate mental fitness into our regular routines.
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