Bone Density test
Taking certain medications (like steroids) may speed bone loss, and certain medical conditions like diabetes, IBS and asthma can also compromise bone density. Ask your doctor if you are concerned about osteoporosis, especially if it runs in your family.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol tests
Any time you go in to the doctor’s, your blood pressure should be taken, and you should get a cholesterol check every 2 years. You may be at greater risk if you have diabetes or a large waist measurement.
Bowel (colorectal) cancer screening
As long as they are caught early, 90% of colorectal cancers can be cured. A one-off NHS bowel scope screening is offered to women at 55. Between 60 and 74 you’ll be offered a home testing kit every two years. Over 75 you can call any time for a free home test kit.
Breast cancer is unfortunately a common cancer among women. The NHS Breast Screening Programme invites all women aged between 50 and 70 for screening every 3 years. Make sure you’re on the list and be sure to attend. Check your own breasts regularly and contact the doctor if you feel any lumps.
This is normally offered to women between 25-64. Over 65 it is offered to women who have previously had an abnormal test. But you can and should request a test from your GP.
After 50 your risk for type 2 diabetes can increase – and especially if you are overweight. Your doctor can screen your risk by testing your levels of haemoglobin A1C (a blood test that reflects your average blood glucose levels over the last 3 months) and/or your blood glucose levels via a fasting plasma glucose test.
You should have your eyes examined every 1 to 2 years. Opticians check for more than how good your vision is – like signs of glaucoma or diabetes.
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Anyone at any age can develop skin cancer. Ask your GP for a skin check every 1-2 years to screen for new or changed moles or marks.
The British Association of Dermatologists has a useful checklist using the letters ABCDE when looking at skin moles:
Asymmetry – the two halves of the area may differ in shape
Border – the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches
Colour – this may be uneven. Different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen
Diameter – most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter (from side to side). Report any change in size, shape or diameter to your doctor
Evolving – changing in size, shape, or colour
Visit your dentist for preventive check-ups and routine cleaning by a hygienist. There is a direct, if unexpected, connection between gum disease and heart disease.
The flu shot is especially important if you have medical conditions that put you at risk of complications from the flu. The efficacy of this vaccine is being improved every year.
Always check the recommended vaccinations for far-flung destinations. A multi-strain probiotic like Microbiotic Plus can help prevent stomach upsets in locations with very different food cultures.