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Need to Know

How Often Should Your Elderly Parents Get a Check Up

As your parents begin to age, you may find that they begin to encounter more and more health problems.

While not uncommon, it is good to be proactive about the kind of medical attention they may need.

Especially with long-term diseases that need to be constantly monitored, it is smart to visit the doctor. Here are a couple of good reasons to visit the doctor’s office.

1. Rectal exams. Although this might not be the most comfortable exam, it is important to get checked once a year. Such exams can help to catch early signs of cancer that are easier to treat when detected at an early stage.

2. Other colon cancer screenings. Get a colon cancer screening done once every ten years. This can help catch any early forms of cancer and prevent further disease progression. Especially if you are over the age of fifty, talk to your doctors about getting screened.

3. Breast exam and mammogram. As women progress in age, their risk of breast cancer increases. It is extremely important to get an annual mammogram as well as screen yourself for breast cancer. While a self-performed screening can be done at home, mammograms are a more thorough way of ensuring that your breasts are healthy and cancer free. Get a mammogram once every two years, especially if you are over the age of fifty. More frequent mammograms may be recommended if you or someone in your family has a history of cancer.

4. Pelvic exam and pap smear. Women over the age of sixty still need to get regular pelvic exams and pap smears. This can help to detect any problems (such as incontinence) and any onset of cervical or vaginal cancer. Pap smears are generally recommended once every three years.

5. Eye exam. Taking care of your eyes is extremely important; you may be at risk of certain eye diseases as you age. You should get your eyes checked every two years before your sixty and once a year after that. With proactive screening, you can help to preserve good eyesight and treat diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.

6. Hearing test. As you age, your hearing is going to get less and less clear. Get hearing tests done at least once every three years to make sure that you are not experiencing extreme loss of hearing. Again, with early detection, hearing loss can be treated.

7. Check your bones. Your bones will grow more brittle as you age, especially with poor dietary habits. Especially if you have suffered or are suffering from a fracture, you are at an increased risk of permanent health problems. Talk to your doctor about testing for bone density and osteoporosis.

8. Cholesterol screening. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help to regulate cholesterol levels, but checking cholesterol regularly is a good way to monitor and prevent related diseases like heart attacks and strokes. If you suffer from high cholesterol, diet changes and medications are now available to help keep cholesterol at a healthy level.

9. Vaccinations. Make sure you are up to date on all of your vaccinations, especially the flu. This can help to prevent any unwanted diseases that may have more severe effects on the elderly population.

Although going to the doctor may not be your favorite activity, staying on top of your health can prevent the onset of long-term diseases and live a healthier, longer life!

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