September is Healthy Ageing Month, an annual health observance to bring awareness to the positive aspects of growing older and to bring ideas to improve the well being of those aged 45 and older. With the “back to school” mentality ingrained in us from our childhood, it’s the perfect time to visit your doctor and make sure that your health is the best that it could be.
Make an appointment to see your doctor for a health checkup. Read on to discover some questions that your should be asking your physician when you see them.
Questions to ask your doctor:
⦁ Am I due for any maintenance/preventative tests such as mammogram or colonoscopy?
– After the age of 50, there are recommendations for screening tests to detect things such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. Additional routine screening that occurs at any age for women is the Pap test for cervical cancer. Although these tests may be uncomfortable, they are important in detecting abnormalities early, and thus getting treatment early for a better result.
⦁ Because of my family history of _______ (cancer, thyroid issues, aneurysm, heart attacks, strokes, etc.) should I be getting any additional tests?
– With certain conditions, there is a familial component. This means that if someone in your close family has a condition, you may be more likely to have it as well. If there is a connection, then your physician might have you do screening tests more regularly than the average person, or send you for investigations they may not otherwise consider. It’s important to tell your doctor about your family history so that they are aware of your risks.
⦁ When when my last routine blood work was done that checked my cholesterol, blood sugar, kidneys and thyroid?
– As we age, we become more at risk for things such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Getting routine blood-work done is a simple way to be able to detect changes early and treat them. Having any of those diseases untreated leads to an increased risk of more serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
⦁ Can you check my back for moles?
– You should be routinely checking your skin for changing lumps, bumps, moles and skin lesions. However, if you don’t have a partner, it can be difficult to examine your back. Cancerous moles or lesions can appear anywhere, and the sooner they are detected, the better.
⦁ What can I do to better improve my health?
– You should be asking this to yourself regularly, not just your doctor; but they may have some tips that you have not thought of. Besides getting regular exercise, and eating well, they may be able to suggest some personalized tips based on your medical problems. This also includes your mental health, which is just as important. Your risk of depression and anxiety can increase with age. With dark and dreary winter months ahead, and perhaps loneliness of your kids returning to school, it’s important to combat negative feelings early. Things like support groups, counselling, meditation, exercise or even art classes may be the answer to keep you from needing medication.
⦁ When should I follow-up?
– Ask your doctor when is the right time to return to see them. It may be that they want to see you after you’ve had some tests done, in a month’s time to recheck things, or next year for your annual check-up.
It’s important to take your health into your own hands. Prevention is key in staying active and healthy as we age. Keep on top of your health by seeing your physician regularly and educating yourself on medical issues. Ageing can be a wonderful experience, but health is imperative in being able to enjoy it.