The health checks every over 60 women must have

Isn’t being over 60 great? We’re much healthier than our parents or grandparents were, but at the same time, we still need to maintain our wellbeing so we can enjoy our lives for years to come.

If the below recommendations are followed, you’ll be your most healthy self – who wouldn’t want that? These are simple medical tests that can be done when you visit your regular doctor:

Bowel cancer 

When? Every 2 years

It’s not nice to talk about, but your bowel health is extremely important. Cancer Council Australia reported that in this year alone, about 16,980 Australians are expected to be diagnosed with bowel cancer (9,250 in men and 7,730 in women). A Bowelscan kit is easy to use in your own home and the completed kit and form can be handed into participating pharmacies, with your results being sent to your doctor.

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Women who have a family history or at high risk of bowel cancer may need a colonoscopy every two to five years. This involves a light anaesthetic and the insertion of a colonoscope to check your rectum and large bowel for abnormalities.

 

 

BreastScreen mammogram

When? Every 2 years unless at high risk

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In 2010, breast cancer was the most common cancer in Australian women, accounting for 28 per cent of all new cancers – an alarming statistic. The best way to book a test is to contact BreastScreen Australia either on their website, or on 13 20 50.

 

Pap smear

When? Every 2 years

Even if you’re not currently sexually active, or if you are, being checked for cervical cancer every 2 years is necessary. The Department of Health will send you a letter when you’re due and it’s as easy as going to your usual GP and having the quick test. It may be slightly uncomfortable but when you think that in 2011, cervical cancer caused 229 deaths, it doesn’t seem like much of an ask.

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Cholesterol and triglyceride blood tests

When? Every 2 years (or more if high risk)

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia but is also one of the most preventable. Get on top of your heart health by asking your doctor to conduct blood tests and check your blood pressure, waist circumference and BMI measurements.

 

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Hearing

When? Every year

It’s imperative that you have your hearing checked, not only for yourself but for others around you. Hearing loss is linked to depression and the loss of quality of life, but can be avoided or helped with regular hearing checks.

 

Dental check-up

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When? Every 6 months (or as needed)

Our teeth and gum health is vital to our overall health, yet not enough of us see our dentists regularly. While we might hate seeing them, even just popping in for a check-up every 6 months can save a lot of trouble in the long run, especially if you want to keep all your original teeth. It’s been drilled into our heads our whole life, but truly, brushing twice daily and flossing at night is the best way to maintain your pearly whites!

 

Eye exam

When? Every year

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Whether you have glasses, or are blessed enough not to need them, it’s always worthwhile to get an eye test when you can. Registered optometrists can also check your macular and do a test for glaucoma, which if undetected can lead to blindness. Not to mention, regular eye testing can help you to stay on the road and licensed, so it’s best to be up-to-date.

 

Skin checks 

When? Every year

In between checks, monitor your skin for any changes to the size, shape, colour of any freckles, moles or spots. Women at high risk need regular examination by their doctor or dermatologist.

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Diabetes 

When? Every 2 years

Depending on your risk level, you will need to be tested every one to three years for diabetes, and more if you are obese, have a family history of diabetes, or you’re from a certain ethnic group. The diabetes test measures glucose in the blood after fasting for eight hours.

 

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Bone density 

When? Every year

After menopause, our lack of oestrogen can wreak havoc on our bodies, and particularly our bones. Many women over 60 have osteoporosis, where the bones are thinned. A bone density test (DEXA) helps to determine the health of your bones if you have osteoporosis, or are at risk.

 

Kidney disease

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When? Every year

Did you know that a person can lose up to 90% of their kidney function before experiencing any symptoms? Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a significant health problem, and it is worth being checked for it every year after 60. It requires a simple urine test.

Dementia screening

When? Every year over 75 or earlier if family history

Losing your memory is just a natural part of ageing, but if it is worrying you or your family, you should get it checked out.