Getting your hair cut. Wearing sunscreen. Clipping your toenails once in a while. As you mature, you learn how to take care of your outer appearance so you can keep yourself in tip-top shape. But so many of us neglect what’s going on INSIDE our bodies, even though it’s more important. Why? Because early detection is key. In fact, when it comes to eight of the most common cancers, survival rates are three times higher when caught early, according to Cancer Research UK.
To help you approach your internal health, as naturally as you tighten your tie, Fedhealth has put together a basic guide on the health check-ups you need at each stage of your life, from your roaring twenties to your golden sixties, and beyond.
For over 18s
School is out! You may no longer be under the care of your parents, so you need to start taking responsibility for your life, and your health is one very important aspect of this. Here’s what to do:
- Avoid strokes, dementia, and heart disease (among other things) by getting your blood pressure checked. It’s worth checking every two years, and even more often when your doctor recommends it. Too often, high blood pressure goes unnoticed, causing your heart to eventually weaken as it struggles to pump blood around the body.
- Get a diabetes test, especially if you’re overweight. Undiagnosed diabetes can lead to devastating deterioration of organs, particularly of the eyes, heart, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.
- Maintain the smooth functioning of your teeth with visits every six months or so with a hygienist or dentist. This will avoid larger problems becoming an issue and leading to root canals or expensive and painful fillings at a later stage.
- Get an HIV test, for your own wellbeing and also as a moral duty.
For men over 35
- Prevent heart disease with cholesterol screenings every five years. If you have diabetes or are concerned about other personal risk factors it’s worth getting checked at an even younger stage.
- Get screened for testicular cancer.
- Visit a dermatologist to have potentially cancerous sunspots removed.
- Alongside all of the above, after 40 it’s wise to go for more regular eye and ear tests.
For men over 50
- Get a colonoscopy every decade or so to keep aware of the threats of colorectal cancer, and even more often if you’re prone to colon cancer risk factors.
- Talk to your physician about getting screened for osteoporosis based on your medical and family history.
- Keep on top of the risk of prostate cancer with a prostate examination.
- Get an annual lung cancer screening if you have a history of smoking, still smoke or quit sometime in the last 15 years.
Of course, when it comes to your health, there’s so much more you can do. Your GP can provide a tailored assessment of the tests you need according to your body, family history, and lifestyle. But knowing what your body needs as you grow older is also a process of discovery, from learning to eat the right foods and exercising appropriately to finding restorative ways to relax.
Pay attention to your body and lean into your invincibility. Because one thing growing old teaches us is that building strength, as well as acknowledging weaknesses, are both a vital part of leading a happy, healthy life.