title of a popular James Bond movie: "You Only Live
what 007 says. We have one body to maintain and itís the
only one we get ó a little cut and paste notwithstanding.
yourself to a doctor for regular screenings and checkups. At
the minimum, you should have your blood pressure, cholesterol
and triglycerides checked every year and in every decade. Each
decade brings new challenges and things to do to maintain
always tell patients, ĎAn ounce of prevention is worth 1,000
pounds of disease.í Schedule your yearly exams. This doesnít
take that long. Itís a minor inconvenience to get some blood
taken from you and a urine sample," says Dr. Lester
Carrodeguas, family medicine physician with Baptist Health
Primary Care. "That small time you get to speak to your
doctor can prevent a whole lot of trouble for later on."
would you expect to talk about? You guessed it: physical
activity ó as in, you probably arenít getting enough.
like to talk about physical activity," says Dr. Olveen
Carrasquillo, chief of the division of general internal
medicine at UHealth. "If sedentary, get them active. Talk
about diet guidelines. Five servings of fruits and vegetables
is a good target daily. Major things like: donít smoke,
binge drinking, sexually risky behaviors."
your handy guide to doing the decades right by your health.
preventative services in this age group, suggests Carrasquillo.
dental and eye exams should be part of your routine by this
age group and continue forward, suggests Carrodeguas.
that your vaccinations are up to date. Tetanus expires after
10 years, he notes. If there is no proof, or you canít
recall if you had your measles, mumps or rubella vaccinations
while in school, this is a good time to get them. Also, the
human papillomavirus vaccine. If youíre sexually active, the
chance for sexually transmitted diseases needs to be addressed
by this time. Protection is paramount.
pressure screenings, every year. "With the increasing
obesity epidemic, check for diabetes," Carrasquillo
suggests, even though the 20s used to be considered early for
that test. Check cholesterol and triglycerides with a simple
where real screenings for cholesterol and diabetes become
important," Carrasquillo says. "Thereís some
controversy but we used to recommend, but not anymore,
testicular cancer screenings. But now, the evidence doesnít
seem to be that great."
doesnít mean men shouldnít do a self check of their
testicles, feeling for any abnormalities. When in doubt, bring
concerns to your doctorís attention.
you get older into your 30s, skin cancer, especially here in
South Florida, look at your skin for lesions. Many health
plans include an annual skin cancer screening visit. We will
tell them to see a dermatologist," Carrasquilla says.
pressure becomes an issue in the late 30s, early 40s. Get it
under control now before the 50s, when it becomes a pattern.
born before 1965 should screen for hepatitis C, Carrasquilla
youíre doing high-risk sexual behaviors then there are a
bunch of other things to screen for: syphillis, hepatitis B
and HIV," he adds.
there is controversy over prostate screenings, a
prostate-specific antigen test to measure the level of these
proteins in a manís blood is worth considering, according to
Carrodeguas, especially for African-American males who are at
higher risk for prostate cancer. If a close male relative
(father, brother) has had prostate cancer you should consider
being tested, too.
screenings, via colonoscopy, should begin at age 50, unless
you have a family history of colon cancer. If so, start at 40.
A colonoscopy should be done every 10 years from now on, into
your mid-70s, unless polyps are found. Your doctor may then
recommend returning every three to five years. Itís a
relatively simple and painless procedure. The only pain in the
you-know-where is drinking the prep liquid and voiding the day
before. Otherwise, man up. Itís no biggie.
occult blood test can check for microscopic blood in the
stool, which could be a sign of potential colon cancer.
for osteoporosis if there is a history of smoking in men ages
50 to 75.
calcium score via a cat scan of the heart to check for plaque
formation is a good idea, Carrodeguas says, "to catch
these lesions early before they knock on the door and tell you
itís time to go."
vaccine is recommended at every age, especially for the
elderly and young children.
vaccine. Shingles vaccine.
(you havenít stopped yet?) should be screened for lung
for abdominal aneurysms with ultrasound in your 50s and 60s.
can also start looking for things that are at-risk, like
dementia if you are forgetting a lot of things, gait
imbalance. Some conditions can lead to those problems,"
70s, we start moving away from aggressive screenings. "If
you have normal colonoscopies in your 50s and 60s, after 75
you can usually stop colonoscopy," says Carrasquilla.
looking into social isolation, depression, neglect issues in
the 70s, fewer blood screenings but more emphasis on checking
to see if falls are an issue. Dementia. Make sure you get a
flu shot every year.