Preventing chronic diseases through routine care is important at any age, and especially as patients reach their middle-age milestones and beyond.
Individuals who make healthy lifestyle choices and follow screening guidelines can increase the likelihood of living well into their later years.
While not all health screening procedures prevent disease, regular colonoscopies can detect the risk of colorectal cancer, and actually prevent it from occurring.
EvergreenHealth recommends that adults at average risk for colorectal cancer begin screening procedures—which can identify and remove precancerous polyps—at age 50 and continue based on your results and risk category.
Mammograms are the gold standard for early detection of breast cancer.
EvergreenHealth follows the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s guidelines that recommend all women receive clinical breast exams beginning at age 30 and annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40.
Women over age 40 don’t need a written referral from their provider for a screening mammogram. In some cases, women under 40 may need to obtain a written order from their health care provider to be eligible for insurance coverage.
Changing guidelines for cervical cancer screening have recently caused confusion about how often women should schedule a Pap smear.
Pap smears help to detect precancerous changes in ones body and help prevent cancer from developing.
Our OB/GYNs believe women do not need an annual Pap smear and should instead follow the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) guidelines to schedule one every three years.
- Begin Pap smears and pelvic exams at age 21, even if you are sexually active before then.
- Continue Pap smears every three years until age 29, unless otherwise recommended by your provider .
- After age 30 and through age 65, average-risk women can have a Pap smear every five years along with an HPV co-test. Without HPV testing, continue your Pap smear every three years.
- Women of all ages should continue your annual pelvic exam with your OB/GYN or primary care provider and discuss your overall health and any possible concerns.
If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor if you need to be screened for type 2 diabetes.
Know Your Numbers
Blood screening and lipid panel testing can help you gauge your progress towards living your healthiest best—and most importantly, prevent chronic disorders like diabetes and heart disease, or progressively worse outcomes like hypertension and hyperlipidemia.
Work with your provider to benchmark and check your levels across several important health-risk indicators.
|Body Mass Index (BMI)
||18.5 - 24.9 – Normal
25 - 29.9 – Overweight
30+ – Obesity risk
A normal range is typically less than 120/80 mm Hg
||For those without diabetes, target an A1C below 5.7%
||Optimal levels for adults:
Total cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dL
LDL (bad) cholesterol is less than 100 mg/dL
HDL (good) cholesterol is 60 mg/dL and higher
You never outgrow the need for vaccines.
The specific immunizations you need as an adult are determined by factors such as your age, lifestyle, high-risk conditions, type and locations of travel, and previous immunizations.
Some adults incorrectly assume that the vaccines they received as children will protect them for the rest of their lives. Generally this is true, except that:
- Some adults were never vaccinated as children
- Newer vaccines were not available when some adults were children
- Immunity can begin to fade over time
- As we age, we become more susceptible to serious disease caused by common infections (such as flu and pneumococcus)
Here is the CDC's recommended vaccination schedule: