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Check-Ups to Check Off!


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Many of us drive a vehicle. We rely on these rather complex machines to take us from place to place, whether it's to the grocery store, to work, or on our next road trip. Some of this is accomplished by ensuring the vehicle's oil is changed or its battery is fully charged. The vehicle is regularly looked after by people that understand it's intricacies well and especially cared for by the folks that use it often. Would anyone want to happily hop into a vehicle that's delipidated or clearly shows signs of neglect? Of course not. We can consider our health in a similar fashion. Let's take an extended look at the important numbers needed to keep us informed about the state of our physical health and keep us moving forward. 

Cholesterol: Finding you have high cholesterol grants you the opportunity to lower your risk of heart disease. Healthy adults should strive for a low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, of less than 100mg/dL. It is recommended that men begin regular screenings for hyperlipidemia at age 35, while women should start at age 45.

Blood Pressure: It is advised that you get your blood pressure checked every three to five years, if not more often. Anything above 120/80 mm Hg is considered abnormal. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that those at higher risk get tested at least once a year.

Skin Cancer: The USPSTF does not recommend skin screenings, but you should discuss with your primary care physician any suspicious lesions, including those that are new or change in color, shape, and size.

Type 2 Diabetes: It is advised that you get screened every three years for Type 2 diabetes starting at age 35, with a simple blood test called a hemoglobin A1C. If you are overweight or have a family history of diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol, your doctor may test more often.

Hearing Tests: Some organizations or groups advocate for hearing loss screenings at age 60 or older regardless of symptoms, though the USPSTF does not advise it. If you have any concerns about your hearing, discuss testing with your physician.

Eye Exams: By age 65, you should be getting your eyes examined every year or two. Regular eye exams are even more important after 60 as many age-related conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, can affect eye health. Vision disorders associated with aging include age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, dry eye, glaucoma, and retinal detachment.

Dental Exams: The American Dental Association recommends a dental cleaning around every six months, in addition to periodic X-rays. Those with higher risk of dental challenges may consider planning for more visits.

As we all know, life is much more a marathon than a sprint. By valuing excellent maintenance over expediency, we commit ourselves to having better health while choosing preparedness over passivity. At the start of the year or throughout the months, it's good to take charge of your physical wellbeing. We can accomplish this by planning a visit with a healthcare professional, where we can gather invaluable information about ourselves.

Works Cited: Tune up your body: A health checklist for every age. The Washington Post. January 2024.



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