They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to medicine and health screenings, preventive measures can find small things before they become a big problem. Health tests are one of the ways you can use preventive medicine to your advantage. As you age, some issues become more prominent and your risk for them increases. Getting these tests after you turn 40 can give you more options for treatment before even your life is at risk. A FIT test to detect colon cancer or diabetes screening to detect elevated blood sugars can mean the difference between life and death. Here are seven health tests to get after you turn 40.
Blood Pressure Check
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels. The heart pumps blood into the arteries, which carry it throughout your body. When you eat or exercise, this increases your heart rate and causes more blood to flow through your arteries. Blood pressure is measured in two numbers. The systolic is the upper number and the diastolic is the lower number. In general, when these numbers get too high regularly it puts you at risk of a heart attack which can be life-threatening.
A simple blood test can tell doctors a lot about your health. Basic tests include a complete blood count (CBC), cholesterol, and glucose. You can have these blood tests done at a lab or at home with over-the-counter kits. Tests can be done by you or by your doctor. These numbers give a broad picture of different kinds of things that might be going on. If one of these test results are out of range, it can be a red flag and a signal that more tests need to be done.
Bone Density Scan
Women in particular are more prone to osteoporosis as they age. Getting a bone density scan in your 40s can help catch bone issues early on. As your bone density decreases, you are more at risk for fractures and bone breaks. This is why falls can be so catastrophic for the elderly because their bones are not as strong anymore.
Colon Cancer Test
The colon and rectum are part of the digestive system. The colon is the last part of the digestive tract, and it stores water, salts, and waste until elimination. Colon cancer can develop as a result of small growths, or polyps, growing in your colon wall. Polyps become cancerous when they turn into adenomas or carcinomas—tumors that can spread to other parts of your body if not treated in time.
If you’re 40 years old or older, talk to your doctor about getting screened for colon cancer with either a stool test or CT scan every five years. Most medical professionals recommend these tests start at 50, but if you’ve had any irregular stools, blood, or GI problems, they may recommend one earlier.
Regular eye exams are important. Eye health is important at any age, but as you get older it becomes even more vital. It’s easy to forget about your vision when there are so many other things to worry about—and with good reason. There are plenty of changes that happen as we age, like cataracts and macular degeneration. But these issues can often be treated or prevented if caught early enough. Getting your vision checked can detect irregularities that might be mitigated with surgery or medication.
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is carried in the blood, and it’s also found in our food. Cholesterol is a critical component of cell structures, but too much of the wrong kind can block arteries and cause strokes. There are two types of cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), which helps remove excess cholesterol from your body, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease.
If you’re over 40, it becomes increasingly likely that you’ll experience some degree of hearing loss. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time in loud environments such as nightclubs or work around heavy machinery. While there are many different factors that may cause hearing loss, the best way to prevent it is by avoiding those situations that expose your ears to excessive noise. If you already have some degree of hearing loss, there are a number of treatments available to help restore your hearing and make it easier for you to communicate with others in social settings.