Renate Engelbrecht
Content producer
3 minute read
3 Jun 2022
2:39 pm

The medical tests you shouldn’t neglect in your 40s, 50s and 60s

Renate Engelbrecht

Whilst doctors’ appointments are often a daunting exercise, there are some tests that everyone needs in order to stay healthy from 40 onwards.

Medical chekups you should not neglect. Image: iStock

As one ages, certain doctors’ trips become more and more important.

While adhering to a healthy lifestyle is key, you need to also consider the benefits of preventative healthcare. Regular medical check-ups and routine health screenings are the best way to catch problems before they get out of hand.

Edwin Theron, CEO at digital insurance provider, Sanlam Indie says: “Often it’s because we’re afraid of what we might find out since we have less than adequate critical illness insurance, or we’re worried about what these medical tests cost.”

Still, early detection makes a disease more responsive to treatment, it stops an ailment from becoming a chronic condition, and it helps contain infectious diseases. “We need to constantly remind ourselves that prevention is better than a cure,” says Theron.

Here are the important tests worth taking in your 40s, 50s and 60s:

Routine physical tests

Get familiar with your medical numbers so that you can spot changes quicker.

A basic physical test should include a blood pressure test, cholesterol test, and glucose test to check for diabetes and pre-diabetes. Your heart rate and lungs will also be checked, as well as your eyes, ears, lymph nodes, and abdomen.

A routine physical test should be done every two to three years in your 40s and annually from 50 onwards.

Women should also request a bone density test as part of their physical tests from the age of 50 and a skin exam might also be a good idea to check for irregularities.

Dental exams

Oral healthcare becomes even more important in your 40s and 50s. It is suggested that one visits the dentist every six months to a year for dental cleanings and exams, to ensure that your gums and teeth are kept healthy.

Vaccination updates

Having the flu, pneumonia, or shingles later in your life might come with various health complications. Therefore, it is important to go for booster vaccinations that medical professionals recommend.

Gynaecological exams

Breast cancer and cervical cancer grow in prevalence as women reach their 40s and 50s.

An annual gynaecological exam should include a manual breast exam to check the breasts for lumps, as well as a pap smear and a screening test for cancer of the cervix.

Women are advised to book a mammogram every one to two years after they’ve reached the age of 40.

READ: This is what your gynae wishes you could stop doing and saying

Gynae
Gynaecological tests. Image: iStock

Prostate exam

Men over 40 should book a prostate screening session.

The first screening session should determine how frequently they need a prostate exam going forward. It normally has to be done every two years.

Eye exams

Once you reach 40, an eye exam every two to four years is a good idea.

From 55 onward, more frequent eye exams are recommended. Those who have problems with their vision, diabetes, or a risk of glaucoma need to go for an eye exam every year.

Colonoscopies

According to recent medical guidelines, one should go for screenings for colon cancer from the age of 45. These screenings need to be done every ten years, or more frequently if you have a family history of colon cancer.

Like Theron says: “When it comes to your health, ignorance most certainly is not bliss.”

Knowledge is power as it can help you live a healthier life. “Just like investing money, the appointments you make today pay back in dividends when it comes to your long-term health.”