The Importance of Regular Checkups for Seniors

It is important for any individual to have regular visits to the doctor. Even at work, we are expected to submit for annual physical exams, and for a reason. Regular health examinations help prevent a certain condition and increase the effectiveness of treatment should an illness occur. You don’t have to be employed for you to get regular checkups. Even without an employer, it is important to get the right health screenings and services to keep your health in optimal condition.

Aging Explained

This rings truer for seniors. As we age, we don’t only get wrinkles and gray hair. The years also have a significant effect on our health. Our heart rate lowers slightly, our arteries become stiffer, and all else follows. This is the result of various molecular and cellular damage that have been accumulated in our body over time. In turn, one’s physical and mental capacity lowers while our risk of disease increases.

Aside from biological changes, there are also other life transitions that come with aging, such as retirement, death of spouses and friends, or relocation, which ultimately affect their psychosocial health. There are apparent losses that come with older age, which is why it is equally essential that seniors get the regular medical attention that they need–and this can be done through regular doctor’s appointments and health screenings.

Blood Pressure Monitoring

Due to the cardiovascular changes that occur with age, many seniors experience high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension. Dubbed as a “silent killer,” hypertension can increase one’s chances of heart disease or stroke. Because of this, elderly people are often advised to know and to monitor their blood pressure levels. Blood pressure is routinely checked during clinical health checkups, along with one’s oxygen saturation using an SpO2 sensor. A normal blood pressure reading falls within 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. If your reading is higher, you may be diagnosed with hypertension.

For older people, constant blood pressure monitoring is essential for keeping levels under control. With this, seniors are often advised by their doctors to regularly record their blood pressure readings with the use of a home blood pressure monitoring apparatus.

Home blood pressure monitors can be easily acquired at your local pharmacy; just make sure to have your device checked by your doctor to make sure you are obtaining the same accurate results.

Diabetes Test

Another health test that is essential for seniors during health checkups is a diabetes test, which may be in a form of a fasting blood sugar or an A1C blood test. Millions of Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. While diabetes affects both young and old, the elderly population can be trickier to treat. Since they have grown frailer and more susceptible to illness, they are more prone to diabetes-related complications, which are harder to manage at their age.

This is why it is important to be screened for this condition starting at the age of 45. Being diagnosed early on in life can increase one’s chances of treating diabetes and controlling its symptoms.

There are different types of diabetes tests, depending on the type of condition you have. An A1C test, also known as glycated hemoglobin test, is a blood test that detects your average blood sugar level within the last two to three months. This test does not require fasting, unlike a fasting blood sugar test.

Keeping Healthy

bright and colorful fruits and vegetables on a white background
Choosing the right foods like fresh fruits and vegetables may help reduce arthritic inflammation

Regular checkups alone will not ensure good health. In order to achieve this, seniors should also look after their own health. Aside from constant health monitoring, elderly people can start changing their routines for the better. Including physical activity in their daily living can not only help moderate one’s weight but will also lower blood pressure. That’s right; even older adults can exercise. Whether it be endurance or aerobic activities, strength exercises, balance exercises, or flexibility exercise, there’s always an activity that seniors can enjoy. Make sure to consult with your healthcare provider about which ones to try based on your age and health condition.

Seniors also need to make changes in their diet to prevent diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Vegetables and fruits are fail-proof choices for their daily meals, as well as lean protein sources and high-fiber foods. Watch out for foods high in sodium and saturated fat, though, as these can significantly affect your blood pressure levels.

Meanwhile, seniors need adequate amounts of calcium to promote bone health, which they can get from dairy products, soy products, sardines, almonds, broccoli, canned salmon with bones, and many others. Vitamin D sources, such as fish, egg yolks, milk, and supplements, are also great for keeping the joints and muscles healthy.

Regular checkups and health exams are great preventive health measures as they can detect problems even before they start. And when it comes to our health, early detection is key to prompt treatment.

Editor’s note: This article was written by Tara Desquitado of Cables and Sensors. I received no compensation for posting this article.

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