Life in the 40s can be a bit of a roller coaster ride in which you’re expected to be at the top of your game, have the foresight of a person much older, while juggling family demands. You probably expect to have the energy of a 17-year-old, and the last thing you think about is your health.
What Health Checks are Recommended and Why?
A healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise can reduce the chances of developing illness, but health checks are recommended as well, especially if you have personal or family history of a condition. You can have a healthy lifestyle – and still develop cancer, heart disease or have a stroke. By taking medical advice, and undergoing health screening, problems can be diagnosed early when the chances of a cure are higher and preventative health measures can be instituted.
An important step in getting a handle on your health is a regular visit to your GP who will give you a medical check up and suggest any tests applicable to your age and general health.
In general, the following health recommendations for over-40s are to check:
- High Blood pressure – High blood pressure is usually checked from age 18 because it’s known as the silent killer (sorry, don’t mean to scare you)which means you can have it and not know it. Many other health problems can stem from high blood pressure, so it’s best to have this simple test which takes only a few minutes.
- Bowel Cancer Test – If you have noticed changes in your bowel habits don’t procrastinate, see your doctor especially if you are at high risk. Your GP can refer you for a faecal occult blood test to rule out bowel cancer and you can also carry out the instructions in the free kit the government sends in the mail for early detection.
- Diabetes – Diabetes is a chronic disease with over 1.2 million Australians aged over 18 living with type 2 diabetes. The characteristics of chronic diabetes are that the body is resistant to the hormone insulin and gradually fails to produce it. Anyone aged 40 or over ought to have blood tests for high blood sugar, especially if there is a family history of diabetes.
- Cardiovascular – In the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult population tests for cardiovascular disease risks (heart attack and stroke) ought to be done from age 35. For others, the tests are recommended from age 45. Your GP will take into account whether you smoke and/or have diabetes, or have a family medical history, which is risk factors.
- Skin – Australia has one of the highest rates in the world of skin cancer. The trouble with this disease is that it might not show up for 20 years after you’ve had too much sun exposure. If you have a fair complexion you are at greater risk and should be careful and vigilant, particularly if you’ve had skin cancers before.
- Weight – Your risk of heart disease, blood pressure problems, diabetes, stroke and cancer can be lowered if you maintain a healthy weight, but with weight gain, there is a higher risk. From age 18 you should have been having checks to keep your body mass index (BMI) under control and in a healthy range.
- Mental health – In Australia, it’s estimated that 45 per cent of people at some stage in their lives will suffer from a mental health condition, with three million now dealing with anxiety or depression, or both. See your GP for an assessment and they may refer you to a psychologist for from six to 10 free sessions under Medicare.
- Eyesight – Once you reach 40 it’s time to have an eye exam since this is the age where it begins to deteriorate in most people. Eye tests for glaucoma are important since this disease affects the pressure inside your eyes and can worsen as you age. And get treated as soon as possible. The optometrist can also pick up signs of cataracts, and long or short-sightedness.
- Dental – You have probably been having a dental check up regularly throughout your life so don’t let your busy 40s lifestyle get in the way of healthy gums and teeth. Unhealthy teeth, tooth decay and gum disease can affect other areas of your health as well as your smile.
- Kidney – Kidney disease can be present without you knowing since there will be few if any symptoms until the advanced stages. So, it’s recommended that you have a regular kidney health check including a urine test and blood test (especially if you are in the increased risk category) or screening tests. Talk to your GP about it.
Finally, men should do a testicular self-test for lumps that could be testicular cancer. They should also have prostate cancer screening to rule out prostate cancer depending on their medical history.
Women should have a cervical screening test (a pap test or smear for cervical cancer) and a bone density scan (bones lose minerals and it can lead to osteoporosis). Women should also self-check their breasts, and a mammogram is recommended especially if there is a family history of breast cancer. Both genders should be tested for the human papillomavirus.
HealthScreen however goes a step further! HealthScreen is the next-generation medical facility that combines the most advanced technology with a comprehensive and integrated Preventative Medicine program. Standard physical examination and a routine blood test by a doctor can only provide limited information of your health – and only advanced imaging technology can completely fulfil the requirement for a comprehensive and truly detailed health assessment and early diagnosis.
Our simple and logical approach includes identifying medical conditions that are likely to reduce your life expectancy before the onset of symptoms or any indication of a problem, thus giving you the ability to take control of your Future Health. HealthScreen is the only Medical Facility in Australia to offer such comprehensive assessment including Early Diagnostic Imaging with MRI – which is not only better than CT for such areas as the brain, prostate and pancreas but also it is radiation-free. MRI technology is the safest and most accurate way of diagnostic imaging, so you can get your advanced comprehensive health checks with absolute peace of mind.
Book a complete health check at our Melbourne centre and gain control of your future health for a happier, healthier, and longer life!