Senior Health (cont.)
Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH
Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What are some common facts about health in seniors?
- What changes occur in the body as we age?
- What are the most common diseases and conditions seniors face as they age?
- How can social issues affect the life and health of seniors?
- What are lifestyle changes seniors can make to lead a healthy life as they age?
- What role does diet play in senior health?
- Is exercise important in health of the elderly?
- What are some of the routine medical tests for seniors?
- What are important safety measures for the elderly?
- What are some concerns regarding hospitalization of the elderly?
- What is a hospitalist, and where is my regular doctor?
What are some of the routine medical tests for seniors?
A wide range of screening and preventive measures are available and recommended for people over the age of 65. These guidelines follow the recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and are based on extensive clinical data.
The following lists some of the important preventive and screening measures for seniors.
- Influenza vaccination
- Pneumonia vaccination
- Vaccination against shingles (60 and older; some doctors recommend starting at age 50)
- Colon cancer screening for adults between ages 50 and 75 (younger starting age in high risk groups)
- Breast cancer screening with yearly mammogram for females between 40 and 75 (younger starting age for high risk groups)
- Prostate cancer screening with annual rectal exam and PSA (prostate sensitive antigen) in males above age 50
- Osteoporosis screening with bone density scan in women above age of 65
- Lipid disorder screening yearly for men above 35 and women above 45
- Diabetes screening in people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, or previous high blood sugar levels with or without symptoms of diabetes
- Blood pressure screening at least once a year
- Smoking cessation counseling
Other screening tests may be recommended by doctors are:
- vision and hearing exams
- skin cancer screening
- cardiac stress tests
- thyroid function tests
- mental status exam
- peripheral vascular disease screening
It is worth noting that even though these are general health maintenance guidelines, primary care doctors may draft an individualized plan for each person based on their personal history.
Many of these tests are recommended to be performed periodically. As people get older, the benefits of detecting certain diseases may diminish, obviating the need for further screening. Accordingly, the patient's primary physician may help guide patients with their decisions regarding recommended health screening tests.
Sometimes the possible risks associated with certain tests may outweigh the potential benefits. Therefore, there are times when the right decision for an individual is to not have further testing for certain conditions.
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