Whether you’re in your 50s, 60’s, 70’s or 80’s, there is one thing that remains true when it comes to healthy aging, it’s always a work in progress. Healthy aging means continually reinventing yourself. At Premier MD Care, we offer a variety of special services/treatments to help you feel better, live better, and have you love doing the things that you love to do.
There’s no question that men and women age differently. Obviously, genetics, lifestyle, nutrition, and environment affect how people of either gender age, but the rate and way that men and women age is completely different.
Not only do the male and female body respond differently to aging, but the male and female psychology also differs greatly as well. Taken together, aging for men and women can be an entirely different experience.
Sex and aging are very different for men and women. A woman’s body responds to aging dramatically with menopause while a man’s body responds more gradually.
Different hormones are affected by aging for men and women as they age. For women, changes in estrogen levels with aging are a major concern. This is especially true during menopause and after. For men, testosterone level changes are the dominant hormonal component of aging.
Brain aging is also different for men and women. Men who are overweight, diagnosed with diabetes, or have had a stroke are more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment. Women, however, are more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment if they are dependent on others for daily tasks and lack a strong social network.
Do you know that as women, we all need to have certain medical tests and health screenings throughout our lives? Here is a list of screenings you should ask your physician about.
The Pap test or a Pap smear is important for all women age 21 and above. Sexually active young women under 21 also need Pap tests starting within three years of the first time sexual intercourse happened. The Pap test, originally developed by Dr. George Papanicolaou in the 1950s, detects abnormal changes in cervical cells that may led to cervical cancer if not detected by annual Pap smears.
Prior to the introduction of the Pap test, cervical cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in women. Thanks to Dr. Papanicolaou’s research and his hard work developing the Pap smear, cervical cancer is now 15th, among causes of cancer deaths in women with about 3,700 women dying of cervical cancer each year.
The recommendations for when to begin annual mammography vary among health professionals. Some groups, including the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend mammography screening beginning at age 40, while other professional groups including the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians, US Preventative Services at Task Force, as well as the Canadian Task Force on Periodic Health Examination recommend yearly screening beginning at age 50. These differences are due to the fact that the groups who recommend mammograms beginning at age 50 believe that the risks of radiation exposure may outweigh the benefits of screenings beginning at an earlier age.
Younger women at high risk for developing breast cancer also need annual mammograms as ordered by their physicians. Mammograms are safe, relatively painless, and necessary for the early detection of breast cancer. When found early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is up to 96%, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Bone density testing is a simple and painless procedure. Testing for bone loss is necessary for all women over age 65, as well as for younger women with at least one known risk factor, as well as for all women who have had a hysterectomy. Osteoporosis, in most cases, causes substantial bone loss and the development of bone tissue deterioration. This disease, if not found and treated early, leads to fragile bones that break easily. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, over 1.5 million women and men over age 50 experience osteoporosis-related fractures annually. Fortunately, early diagnosis of osteoporosis by bone density testing is treatable with medications that stop progression of the disease and can reverse some of the bone loss that occurred prior to diagnosis.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects at least 50 million people, or one of every five people, in the United States. Hypertension occurs when blood pressure readings repeatedly rise above 140/90.
On the other hand, blood pressure can also be too low. When this occurs, patients experience low blood pressure or hypotension. Hypotension occurs when blood pressure readings are significantly lower than normal for the patient. The primary symptoms of hypotension include dizziness or feeling light headed and headaches. People taking medicine for high blood pressure who start having these symptoms should check with their healthcare providers to determine whether the prescribed blood pressure medication has worked too well or if a medication change is necessary.
The top number in a blood pressure reading, called the systolic pressure, is the amount of force or pressure exerted against the arteries during each heart beat, while the lower or diastolic number represents amount of pressure in the arteries between heart beats.
Whenever you think exposure to a sexually transmitted disease (STD) has occurred, contact your healthcare provider immediately for testing. The presence of any type of unusual vaginal discharge should be an alert to see your doctor, as well. Having an abnormal vaginal discharge does not mean that an STD is present; however, having a vaginal discharge usually indicates the presence of either an STD or a vaginal infection.
The cholesterol test helps predict individual risks for the development of heart disease. Routine cholesterol tests are necessary every 5 years for adults. Other tests including HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, together, called a lipid profile are usually performed at the time of cholesterol testing says Labs Online. Cholesterol tests should be given only to healthy patients because some types of illness may cause false low test results. Pregnant women should forgo cholesterol testing during pregnancy since pregnancy often causes higher than normal cholesterol numbers. When patients are taking prescription medications to lower cholesterol, testing occurs more often to see how well the patient is responding to treatment.
Regular screening for colon cancer, such as colonoscopies, should begin in patients during their late forties to early fifties. Colonoscopy should begin, for most patients, at age 50 and should take place every 10 years following. Patients with known risk factors should follow their healthcare provider’s advice for when to start having this test. The American Cancer Society, as well as other health organizations, recommends the routine performance of a test called a fecal blood culture for adults every year after age 50.
Early diagnosis of colon cancer significantly increases the five-year survival rate from this tragic disease to more than 90%; however, early colorectal cancer diagnosis occurs only 39% of the time. Having these tests at the recommended intervals, or as directed by your healthcare provider, is the best way to catch colorectal cancer while still in its early stages.
Diagnosis of skin cancer occurs more times per year in the United States than any other type of cancer. Although lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, skin cancer occurs significantly more often, which makes it the number one cancer diagnosis in the United States The good news is that it’s not hard to determine whether a potential skin cancer lesion is present. Many cities around the United States offer free skin cancer screenings, usually in May, at local hospitals. Local dermatologists give up a Saturday, at this time, to help discover possible skin cancers in anyone who shows up at the event. These free skin cancer screenings normally consist of undressing, putting on a hospital gown, and waiting for the doctor to come in the exam room to examine the skin over the entire body. This doesn’t usually take more than a few minutes and offers an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you might have about skin cancer.
Patients who have risk factors for diabetes type 2 (adult onset diabetes) should receive either a fasting glucose test or a glucose tolerance test every 3 years beginning at age 45. Risk factors for adult onset diabetes include:
- Family history of either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
- Women who experienced gestational diabetes during pregnancy
- Having given birth to an infant who weighed over 9 pounds at birth
- High blood pressure or hypertension
- Being part of a family with a culture history of African, Hispanic, Native American, or Pacific Island descent
- Getting little or no exercise
Adults age 18 and older should have eye examinations every one or two years until age 61, when the American Optometric Association recommends that yearly vision screenings should begin. Adults with ongoing eye conditions should see their optometrist as often as the physician recommends. Additionally, patients who have risk factors for diabetes such as high blood pressure, a family history of ocular diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, people who work in jobs that require acute vision, patients who wear contacts, those who take prescribed medications regularly or OTC medications that have vision-related side effects, and people who have other health conditions that affect the eyes may need more frequent vision screenings.
Hearing loss is widespread and persistent among adults of all ages. While hearing screening is voluntary, the American Speech – Language – Hearing Association recommends hearing screening for adults every 10 years for adults through the age of 50 when more frequent hearing screenings should take place. At age 50, hearing tests should occur every three years. The fact is that over 30% of people over 65 have a hearing loss, 14% of adults aged 45 to 64 also experience hearing loss, and over 8 million people between age 18 and 44 have some type of hearing loss.