Age 50 is an important time in your life when it comes to changes in your medical and health approach. Certain screenings should be done regularly – here’s what you need to know.
After the age of 50, it’s important that you begin adjusting to a new way of approaching your personal health care and medical condition. It’s always good to get preventative check-ups, but after age 50 it becomes mandatory. No longer is it safe to skate along simply because you “feel fine” – many dangerous diseases and conditions start out asymptomatic (not showing any symptoms), and it’s crucial that they’re caught early.
At first, it can be intimidating to start checking for all these issues that never crossed your mind previously, especially if you’ve generally lived a healthy life. However, the age of 50 is a significant one when it comes to the manifestation of several common and life-threatening conditions. Your odds of developing a problem definitely increase as you get older, so it’s up to you to be vigilant and proactively get screened regularly for the conditions that you’re most susceptible to.
So, what are the important screenings to get after age 50? For starters, a colonoscopy is one of the first things you’ll see recommended for those who are 50 and up. Even for those who are considered to be more or less “low risk” in terms of their cancer susceptibility, a colonoscopy every year is strongly recommended. This is because colon-related cancers are very common after age 50, but the prognosis is good if you’re able to detect it early. There is probably no more critical test for this part of the population that the colonoscopy.
Other important screenings after 50 include mammograms for women, prostate cancer screening for men, regular flu shots, a shingles shot, and a careful eye towards your cholesterol levels. And of course, the best thing you can do is to have a conversation with your personal physician to develop a customized health plan that makes sense for you based on your unique circumstances.
Each week, Urgent 9 founder Dr. Manuel Momjian will personally weigh in on the topics covered by the blog.
Screening tests such as a colonoscopy are done on an asymptomatic population to detect disease in its earliest form. This is usually when treatments are most likely to be curative. Would you rather have a premalignant polyp removed in your 50’s, or get a diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer in your 60’s? I think most would choose the former. But, many decline a routine colonoscopy because they feel fine.
The whole point of screening is to test you when you feel fine, because once you get symptoms of colon cancer it is probably too late. So, please speak to your primary care provider to determine which screening tests are recommended for your age group.
— Dr. Momjian