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Health screening - men age 65 and older

Definition

All adults should visit their health care provider from time to time, even if they are healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:

  • Screen for diseases
  • Assess risk of future medical problems
  • Help develop a healthy lifestyle
  • Update vaccinations
  • Maintain a relationship with a doctor in case of an illness

Alternative Names

Health maintenance visit - men - over 65; Physical exam - men - over 65; Yearly exam - men - over 65; Checkup - men - over 65; Men's health - over 65

Information

Even if you feel fine, it is still important to see your health care provider regularly to check for potential problems. Most people who have high blood pressure don't even know it. The only way to find out is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Likewise, high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels often do not produce any symptoms until the disease becomes advanced.

There are specific times when you should see your health care provider. Age-specific guidelines are as follows:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening:
    • Men between ages 65 - 75 who have smoked should have an ultrasound done once to screen for abdominal aortic aneurysms.
    • Other men should discuss such screening with their health care provider.
  • Blood pressure screening:
    • Have your blood pressure checked every year.
    • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be watched more closely.
  • Cholesterol screening:
    • If your cholesterol level is normal, have it rechecked every 5 years.
    • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.
  • Colon cancer screening for men age 50 - 75: One of the following screening tests should be done:
    • A stool test every year
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years along with a stool occult blood test
    • Colonoscopy every 10 years
    • After age 75, you should discuss colon cancer screening with your doctor
    • You may need screening earlier or more often if you have risk factors or a family history of colorectal cancer
  • Dental exam:
    • Go to the dentist every year for an exam and cleaning.
  • Eye exam:
    • Have an eye exam every 2 years, especially if you have vision problems or risk factors for glaucoma.
  • Immunizations:
    • If you are over 65, get a pneumococcal vaccine if you have never had before, or if you received one more than 5 years before you turned 65.
    • Get a flu shot every year.
    • Get a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years.
    • Get a Tdap vaccine if you have not had one.
    • You may get a shingles or herpes zoster vaccination once after age 60. You can get it at any age if you never had the vaccination.
  • Osteoporosis screening:
    • All men over age 65 should discuss osteoporosis screening with their health care provider.
  • Prostate cancer screening:
    • All men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their health care provider.
    • During screening a PSA test is done.
  • Preventive health visit each year should include:
    • Checking height and weight
    • Screening for alcohol and tobacco use
    • Screening for depression
    • Screening for the risk of falls
    • Discussing medication interactions
    • Screening for hearing loss

References

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Prostate Cancer. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2010.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2010.

Atkins D, Barton M. The periodic health examination. In:Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 14.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended adult immunization schedule -- United States, 2012. MMWR 2011;61(4):1-7.

Greenland P, Alpert JS, Beller GA, et al. 2010 ACCF/AHA guideline for assessment of cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2010;122(25):e584-e636.


Review Date: 6/1/2011
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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