What health screening tests should I have at 50?

As we navigate into our 50s, it's a prime opportunity to take charge of our health narrative and there are a few key steps to maintaining good health at this stage of life.

In this guide, we’ll dive into the essential health checks tailored for those aged 50 and beyond, ensuring we stay proactive and well-informed.

Every year

  • a dental check-up
  • an osteoporosis risk assessment

Every 2 years

  • a heart disease risk assessment
  • a blood pressure check
  • a mammogram to screen for breast cancer (females)
  • a screen for bowel cancer

Every 3 years

  • a diabetes risk assessment
  • an eye test

Every 5 years

  • cholesterol and lipids tests
  • a cervical screening test (females)

At regular intervals

  • a skin cancer check
  • a depression risk assessment

What can I do to stay healthy?

To help stay healthy you should:

Maintain a balanced lifestyle

  • Aim for a balanced diet and a healthy weight
  • Consume 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables daily, including grains, lean meats, poultry, fish, and dairy
  • Limit sugar, saturated fat, and salt intake
  • Restrict alcohol consumption to no more than 10 standard drinks per week, with no more than 4 drinks on a single day

Stay physically active

  • Strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week, incorporating muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week
  • Avoid prolonged periods of sitting

Immunisation

  • Discuss necessary vaccinations or booster shots with your doctor

Preventative measures for health problems

Cardiovascular Disease

  • Undergo a cardiovascular risk assessment every 2 years if aged 45 or above
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle to mitigate high blood pressure and cholesterol

High Blood Pressure

  • Regular blood pressure checks based on your cardiovascular risk
  • Adjust lifestyle and consider medication if needed

Cholesterol and Lipids

  • Get cholesterol and lipids checked every 5 years, or more frequently if at high risk
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels through diet and exercise

Type 2 Diabetes

  • Screen for risk factors every 3 years
  • Consider blood glucose tests based on risk level

Stroke

  • Discuss stroke-related symptoms and risk factors with your doctor
  • If at high risk, undergo assessments and follow recommended interventions

Kidney Disease

  • High-risk individuals should have kidney function checks every 1-2 years

Breast Cancer

  • Women should have a mammogram every 2 years from age 50

Skin Cancer

  • High-risk individuals should have a skin check every 6-12 months
  • Monitor and report changes in skin spots

Cervical Cancer

  • Women in their 50s should continue cervical screening, following the new cervical screening test guidelines

Prostate Cancer

  • Men in their 50s can discuss pros and cons of prostate cancer screening with their doctor

Colorectal (Bowel or Colon) Cancer

  • Assess risk, and if indicated, consider a colonoscopy
  • For those aged 50-74, participate in bowel cancer screening every 2 years

Osteoporosis and Fracture

  • Assess osteoporosis risk annually
  • Consume recommended calcium and vitamin D, follow a healthy lifestyle, and consider medication if necessary

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

  • Practise good oral hygiene, limit acidic and sugary foods, and visit a dentist at least once a year

healthdirect.gov.au

  • Staff Writer

    Made up of a small, tight knit team of writers and contributors who are passionate about all things FIFTY+ and the New Age. We love Adelaide and wider South Australia and sharing with you all of the l...

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