As we age, our bodies change and need different tests and screenings than they did when we were younger. Some screenings and tests are done during your annual check-up, whereas others will need special appointments to have them done. In either case, the screenings and tests we’ll cover are an important step to ensure you continue to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
When you visit your doctor for your annual check-up, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask which tests or screenings you are due for. If you think you’d benefit from one that your doctor hasn’t mentioned, ask if it is right for you. We’re here to tell you all of the important screenings and tests every senior should get and why they are important to you and your health.
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Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become thin and brittle, making them more prone to breaking. Bones are constantly reabsorbing old bone and producing new bone. “Bone loss occurs when more old bone is reabsorbed than new bone is created,” states MedlinePlus. A bone density test (also called a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry [DXA] scan) measures your bone mineral density (BMD) using a special type of X-ray. This is the gold standard test for the diagnosis of osteoporosis.
Women over 64 years of age should have a DXA scan, and men over 70 years of age who also have risk factors for osteoporosis should consider having their BMD tested. Medline Plus tells us that, “risk factors can include long-term steroid use, low body weight, smoking, heavy alcohol use, a fracture after age 50, or a family history of osteoporosis.” If you think you may be at high risk for osteoporosis talk to your doctor about exercises and other interventions to prevent this condition from developing.