When it comes to aging well the data matters. In order to create a healthy living plan that will take you well into your senior years, it’s important to know where you stand. There are many important data points to learn. Knowing these numbers will help you create a lifestyle that supports health and longevity.
The thyroid gland is a little gland in your neck. It regulates many important metabolism related hormones. Have it checked when you turn fifty and once every five years after that. A low thyroid can cause weight gain, fatigue, and other health problems.
#2 Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is something you can evaluate yourself. You don’t need to go to a doctor to get the information. You can use a blood pressure machine found in most pharmacies. Check your blood pressure today and write it down. Track it month to month to make sure you’re in good health. Aim for a blood pressure below 130/80 which is considered healthy.
#3 Cholesterol and Triglycerides
This test tells you how much potential junk you have in your blood stream. Eating a healthy diet rich in fiber and produce will help you achieve a healthy level of both cholesterol and triglycerides. Get tested when you turn fifty and talk to your doctor about your results. If you have high cholesterol and/or triglycerides it may make sense to get tested annually.
#4 Waist Circumference
Your waist should be 35 inches or less. Like blood pressure, this one doesn’t require a doctor’s exam. Take a fabric tape measure and wrap it around your waist. If the number is larger than 35 inches it’s time to exercise more and eat a healthier diet.
#5 Skin Check
Whether you worshiped the sun in your younger years or not, it’s important to have a dermatologist check your skin for cancer. They can map your moles, freckles and skin spots. Annual re-checks will help your doctor notice any changes. You should also check your skin for suspicious looking spots monthly.
#6 Blood Glucose Levels
This is essentially a test to determine if you have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. It’s important to know that skinny people can be diabetic too. It’s not just a disease for overweight people.
#7 Gynecological Exam, HPV Test, and Mammogram
Women need to have annual gynecological exams and routine mammograms. However, if you’ve never been tested for HPV, consider getting a test. It’s a viral disease spread through sexual activity that can remain dormant in people. You may have it for decades and not know it. Why get tested? Because it is the leading cause of cervical cancer. Knowing you have it can prevent cancer.
#8 Colonoscopy and Rectal Exam
Okay, so nobody wants to have this procedure done. However, it is extremely important to know if you have any polyps which can turn into colorectal cancer. It’s the fourth leading cause of cancer. Have the exam when you’re fifty and return to the doctor every five or ten years for a re-exam.
#9 Bone Density Scan
Osteoporosis is a common health condition for women over fifty. It causes the bones to thin, weaken and become fragile. A bone density scan can help you know if you’re at risk.
Information is power. When you know your health risks now you can take action to reduce or eliminate them. A good strong body will help you live comfortably and for a good long time. Good health helps you have a good life.