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Test It Fix It: The Medical Checkups You Should Go For After 35

Dr. Huma Anjum

2 min read

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Waiting for symptoms to pay a visit to the doctor due to time or financial constraints is often a step too late for most chronic and terminal illnesses. Therefore, in addition to the yearly medical exams, here is a list of preventative or early-detection tests and screenings for people over 35, as majority of serious conditions set in after this age:

1- A Heart Check:
To determine the risk of dyslipidemia (disruption of fat metabolism), heart disease and stroke via a blood pressure check and Lipid Profile Test for measuring the levels of ‘bad’ LDL and ‘good’ HDL cholesterols, and triglycerides. A family history of cardiac disease might warrant a High-Sensitivity CRP test to measure inflammation levels.

When:
Every 2 years for a normal blood pressure, i.e. 120/80 or lower, and 5-yearly gaps for cholesterol checks; with annual check-ups for both after 45.

(Lipid profiles provide best results after 9-12 hours of fasting).

2- Skin Examination::
For early detection of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, via a complete dermatological examination for suspicious moles or growths, in addition to monthly skin self-exams all over the body, particularly the lower half.

When:

Once or twice a year after 35 years of age.

3- Comprehensive Eye Examinations:

For early detection of glaucoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, and hypertension.

When:
Every 3 and 2 years after 35 and 45 years of age respectively, and annually after 65 years of age. For contact lens wearers and those with a family history of eye conditions, hypertension, and diabetes, annual checkups are recommended after reaching an age of 35 years.

4- Diabetes Test:
For preventative or early detection testing against diabetes or prediabetes via a hemoglobin A1C blood test, a Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) test, or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT).

When:
Every 3 years after 45, with 1-2 years for prediabetics. However, smokers, obese or other high-risk individuals with hypertension, high cholesterol or a family history of diabetes should start early testing.

(Fast for 8 hours before the test for accurate results).

5- Colonoscopy:
To check for and remove polyps (small growths that eventually become malignant) in the colon, for early detection of colon cancer.

When:
Every 5-10 years after 50 or 40, depending upon a family history of the disease.

6- Thyroid Test:
To check for under- or overproduction of the thyroid hormone that may lead to Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism, respectively.

When:
Every 5 years after 40, or earlier (at 35), in case of early appearance of symptoms.

7- Bone-Density (DXA) Scan::
This X-ray is used for early treatment of osteopenia and prevention of osteoporosis by measuring the amount of calcium and minerals in bones.

When:
Every 5 years, beginning at age 65 for women and 70 for men. Women who weigh less than 127 pounds, were smokers, or have a history of bone fractures and a family history of osteoporosis should get tested at menopause.

8- Depression Screening:
To avoid dire, depression-fueled consequences through a conversation with a mental health care provider, since the condition manifests in most adults due to work-life stress.

When:
Annually if you are at a higher risk or every 2-3 years.

9- Dementia and Alzheimer’s Screening:
For early detection and subsequent delay of further symptoms through a physical examination and laboratory testing.

When:
Annually after 60, as the condition is prevalent among older individuals.

For Women:

1- Mammogram:
For early breast cancer detection and successful treatment, either digitally or through an x-ray film.

When:
While manual examinations by a gynecologist should be conducted annually after 20 years of age, mammograms should be done every year after 40 years. Women whose mother or sister(s) has / have been diagnosed with breast cancer should have their first mammogram 5-10 years earlier than their relative’s age at the time of their diagnosis.

Note: Schedule mammograms 2 weeks after your period, when breasts are less tender.

2- Full Gynecological Exam:
This includes a manual pelvic and breast exam for abnormalities such as suspicious growths, lumps, rashes, and nipple discharge, a Pap smear and an HPV test for cervical cancer detection.

When:
Annually after 35 years of age. However, Pap tests frequency can be increased to every 5 years if both Pap and HPV tests are normal.

Note: Avoid using vaginal medication and do not have sexual intercourse 1-2 days before a Pap test for accurate results.

For Men:

1- Testicular Cancer Screening::

For early detection of the disease via medical examinations and blood tests, due to a 25% increase in mortality rate since 1995 in Pakistan.

When:

Every year after 35 years or earlier, in individuals with a family history of the disease.

Most diseases are completely curable if detected early, so never miss out on medical health check-ups, particularly if you are at risk of any of the above conditions. Therefore, the best way to remain fit and healthy is to maintain a balanced lifestyle and get a regular medical checkup.

At oladoc, you can find a General Physician in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and get a confirmed appointment. Moreover, you can also get an appointment by calling our helpline: 042-3890-0939.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Huma Anjum - Author Dr. Huma Anjum is a Family Physician based in Lahore. She is a member of Pakistan Medical and Dental Councils and can be consulted for a range of medical conditions. Using oladoc, you can book an appointment with Dr. Huma.
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