The medical community is in overall agreement that people should have an annual physical. As we get older, our doctors may recommend having checkups more often than once a year, especially if we have an underlying medical condition that can make us vulnerable to developing severe disease.
Your doctor will let you know how often you should have your physical. Let’s talk about what to expect from your annual physicals during the golden years, and where you can go to have your yearly checkups to stay healthy for a lifetime.
What to Expect from Your Yearly Checkups
Your wellness exam will include blood work, a urinalysis, checks for lumps or lesions in the mouth and throat, a heart check, and a breathing check. The physician will also check your skin tone, your eyes, your ears, your reflexes, and the strength of your arms and legs.
The doctor will ask you questions regarding how you have been feeling, and whether you have been experiencing any unusual symptoms or pain. This information gathered will alert the physician to any potential chronic conditions that may warrant further examination by a medical specialist.
Upon the conclusion of the exam, your physician will explain what further tests you may need. The doctor will likely give you the names of one or two recommended specialists who are known to be among the best specialists in that field in your geographical area.
What Screenings to Expect
Your doctor will order certain tests for health maintenance based on your gender, age, health history, and family health history. They may include one or more of the following:
Colon Cancer Screening
Most people are recommended to have a colonoscopy, which checks for colon cancer and rectal cancer, at age 50. If you have a blood relative who has had colorectal cancer, your doctor will recommend that you have a colonoscopy at an even earlier age, perhaps as early as age 40.
If any polyps are found during your colonoscopy, the doctor may recommend that you have another colonoscopy within several years. If no polyps are found, and you do not have colorectal cancer in your family, the doctor may tell you that you can wait up to another 10 years before another colonoscopy is warranted.
For adults who are 75 or older, your doctor may recommend that you don’t need another colonoscopy. Invasive screening tests like this can sometimes create more health problems than they solve in those who are at advanced ages, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that seniors speak with their physician about whether or not they should be tested.
Bone Density Scan
A bone density scan is essential for women who are 65 years of age, because osteoporosis becomes a health risk that can cause hairline fractures which can eventually result in a fall. A baseline bone scan should also be given to men who are 70 years of age.
Men and women with rheumatoid arthritis should undergo a bone scan at even earlier ages. Your doctor will explain when to have this test done in order to ensure optimum bone health.
A mammogram is a woman’s best defense against breast cancer. If you are age 75 or older, as with a colonoscopy, you should discuss with your physician whether or not it is in your best interest to continue having regular mammograms.
Pap Smear (Women)
A Pap smear is a minimally invasive test for cervical cancer. Women should have a Pap test annually until age 65, at which point you should discuss with your physician whether or not to continue having annual Pap tests.
Prostate Screening (Men)
Prostate cancer screening is recommended for men who are age 50 and older. Your doctor will include a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test as part of your blood tests, and the physician will also perform a DRE (digital rectal exam) to check for any lumps in your prostate during your physical.
Urgent Care Clinic in Fairless Hills, PA
The doctors here at Patient Care Now Urgent Care have many years of experience caring for patients of all ages, offering urgent care and occupational medical treatment. We are open every day, including holidays, and we welcome walk-ins.
If you have any questions, call us today at (267) 202-6433 to speak to our friendly and helpful staff. We look forward to helping you enjoy a lifetime of health and wellness.