Over 50s Health Screening: What To Expect
There are a number of health problems which become increasingly likely with age. After turning 50, you may find yourself with new health concerns. A closer eye must be kept on blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and a number of illnesses or conditions become more likely. For many women, menopause and osteoporosis can become issues to be dealt with and for men, prostate problems and heart disease become more likely.
According to the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), there are approximately 2.6 million people over 50 living with serious illness in England alone; this equates to one in eight of the older population. ILC-UK predicts that the number will have risen to between 2.9 million and 3.4 million by 2025. Health screening for those over 50 plays a key role in helping to reduce this number. They allow you to keep an eye on your health so that you can receive any treatment you might need or take any preventative measures which may be necessary to avoid potential future illnesses.
Preparing For Your Appointment
There are a few things to remember when preparing for your health screen. You will need to fast for 12 hours beforehand and drink nothing but water. If you are diabetic or have any mobility disabilities, the practice will need to be informed at least 24 hours in advance. You should avoid loud noise exposure for 16 hours before the appointment and, if you wear glasses, you must remember to take them to the appointment. You should arrive 15 minutes before your allotted time and will be asked to give a urine sample on arrival.
What the Over 50s Health Screen Involves
- Basic examination: This includes the measuring of height, weight, body mass index and blood pressure.
- Lung function test: The lung test measures whether you are taking a normal amount of air into your lungs, how much air you can blow out and how fast you can do it. It determines how well your lungs deliver oxygen to your blood.
- Audiogram: This is a hearing test which detects any loss of hearing and indicates whether a hearing aid is required.
- Optec vision testing: The eye examination assesses your vision and ability to focus on objects.
- Laboratory urinary microscopy: A set of tests are performed on the urine which can detect a number of possible infections or diseases.
- Stool tests for signs of blood: This is carried out to identify signs of bowel cancer.
- Blood tests: The blood is examined because it indicates a lot about what is happening inside your body. Your blood count will be checked and your levels of sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate will also be established. Your cholesterol, iron profile, and glucose levels are determined, and your liver and thyroid functions are checked. Proteins, globulines, calcium, phosphate and uric acid are also looked at, and an ESR test is done to detect any inflammation.
- Aortic screening: This detects whether there is an aortic aneurysm – a dangerous swelling of the main blood vessel that runs from the heart, down through the abdomen to the rest of your body.
- Carotid screening: This checks whether plaque has built up along the walls of carotid arteries – an occurrence which leads to carotid artery disease.
Tests For Women
A gynaecological examination is carried out to look for any abnormalities or symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases, and a breast examination to search for signs of breast cancer.
Tests For Men
Similarly, a prostate and testicular examination is given to men to search for signs of cancer.
There are a few tests which may not be part of the standard examination but can be added if the patient wishes. Abdominal or chest imaging can be done, as well as a colonoscopy and a bone density scan. For women specifically, there are several additional tests which are recommended such as smear tests, gynaecological ultrasounds and mammograms.
Over 50s health screens are offered by many different health care providers and give you a thorough idea of what you can do to take care of yourself as you age.