What You Need

Everything You Didn’t Realize You Needed

Screening your way to a healthier life

When it comes to health care, prevention is key. It’s always better to keep you from getting sick than to have you get sick and then have to treat you. That’s why things like regular health screenings are so important.

Necessary and suggested screenings vary by age, but there are several that adults should consider.

The “I Didn’t Know I Needed These” Screenings and Shots

  • Bone density screenings: These are important because they help identify osteoporosis, or weak bones. It’s as simple as a quick heel scan and can help you take action before your bones become brittle.
  • Glaucoma screenings: Glaucoma is an eye disease caused by extra fluid pressure in your eye. It can cause you to gradually lose sight, often without symptoms.
  • Flu shots: You should get one every year. They’re free for anyone in Medicare. And no, you can’t get the flu from getting the flu shot!
  • Pneumococcal vaccine: This vaccine prevents the spread of pneumococcal disease, caused by a common bacterium, and which may cause the most common form of community-acquired bacterial pneumonia.

The “I Know I Need These…I Just Need to Remember to Get Them” Screenings

  • Blood pressure and cholesterol: You know you need to watch these, particularly since heart attacks are the number one cause of death in older Americans. If you watch your blood pressure and cholesterol, that can help reduce your chances for a heart attack.
  • Blood sugar: High blood sugar levels can lead to heart problems, kidney disease, eye damage, nerve disease and other serious problems. See your doctor for a simple blood test to check your levels.
  • Mammograms: Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S. In addition to monthly self-examinations, women should get annual mammograms, starting at age 40.
  • Colon cancer screening: While often associated with men, colorectal cancer is actually common in both men and women, usually in those over 50, but the risk increases with age. Treatment works best when colorectal cancer is found early.
  • Prostate cancer screening: Starting at age 50, men should get checked annually. There are a variety of ways your doctor can test for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is treatable when caught early.

For more information on preventive services offered through Medicare, visithttp://www.medicare.gov/Health/Overview.asp or, simply go to your doctor or local health clinic and screen your way to a healthier life!

Provided by:
Mark E. Kiffer, DO, MBA, VP/Regional Medical Officer
Humana, Inc.

Source: Michele Koder, R.Ph., CareOregon, www.CareOregon.org, 800-224-4840

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