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Preventative Health Screenings in your 50s

50-year-olds have reached a stage in which they can enjoy a renewed sense of self and truly appreciate what they have accomplished and where they want the next 50 years to take them.

Once reaching the age of 50, it is extremely common for individuals to come to a very exciting realization: they are in the prime of their life.

However, reaching the age of 50 can also mean individuals have entered a stage in their life in which they are not only responsible for their childrens wellbeing, but their parents wellbeing as well. Being a caregiver is taxing enough without having to deal with your own health-related issues. Maintaining your health will make your caregiving job more rewarding and consequently less stressful. So this year as you celebrate life in the half-century lane, schedule your annual physical and ask your doctor to perform these simple tests:

  • Colon exam: Screenings allow doctors to detect abnormalities even when patients are not experiencing any symptoms. In some cases screenings allow doctors to detect a polyp in the colon or rectum before it has a chance to develop into cancer. While you may dread the procedure, it could save you from a lot more discomfort in the future.
  • Thyroid hormone test: Think of your thyroid as your body's powerhouse. It produces the hormones needed for metabolism. Aging takes a toll on a variety of bodily functions, especially in women. Beginning at the age of 50 it is recommended you get your thyroid tested every five years.
  • Weight gain: People tend to begin putting on some weight once they reach their 50s. Assessing your weight now will allow you to adjust your eating and exercising habits so that you don't have to deal with a larger weight related issue in the future.
  • Blood pressure: Untreated blood pressure can lead to serious complications, it kills your heart, your brain, your eyes and your kidneys. Don't let hypertension be your downfall. The test is simple and extremely quick.
  • Blood sugar: Diabetes can destroy your health if not properly managed, which can lead to heart disease, kidney failure and even blindness. Ask your doctor for a fasting blood test at least once every three years to take control of diabetes early.
  • Cholesterol: Controlling your cholesterol can add years to your life. Get it checked out once every five years.
  • For women only: Pelvic, pap and mammograms, the trifecta. Make sure you get a pelvic exam and pap smear every one to three years. At 50 you should never let a year go by without getting a mammogram.

With so many years ahead of you, and so may plans to fulfill, don't let your health stand in your way. Taking a few precautions may help elongate your life and allow you to accomplish things you never even thought possible.