Preventive Health Care for Seniors

Preventive health care services are an important factor in the lives of seniors for a variety of reasons. Scheduling routine visits to your doctor can help you detect health issues in the earliest stages and will also allow you to receive the tests and vaccines you need as you continue to age.

You are at an increased risk of developing serious health issues as you grow older, and engaging in preventive health care measures will protect you from suffering the most debilitating of these issues.

You can speak with your doctor directly to establish a personalized health care routine that works best for you. Whether you want to begin a testing schedule or you want to discuss health advice, having appointments with your doctor will help you take the right preventative measures. Identifying issues in the early stages can help you receive the care you need in a timely fashion.

Preventive Health Care Vaccines for Seniors

As you reach senior age, you will need to establish a vaccine schedule as part of your preventive health care program. By receiving these vaccines each year, you will prevent debilitating illnesses from advancing in your system. Seniors typically have trouble once they have contracted influenza or pneumonia. Receiving vaccinations against these illnesses can protect you from any life-threatening developments attributed to these ailments. A large percentage of influenza-related deaths occur in adults 65 years of age or older. To ensure you are protecting yourself against this deadly illness, you should receive your influenza vaccine each year. You can choose to have your vaccine distributed through a routine visit to your doctor or you may choose to have yourself vaccinated at a local pharmacy instead.

Additionally, you will need to receive a pneumococcal vaccine annually to prevent pneumonia from occurring. There are two forms of pneumococcal vaccines you should receive to maximize prevention, including the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. You are at an increased risk of developing complications from pneumonia as you age, many of which can be deadly. These vaccines can prevent complications from arising even after you have caught pneumonia.

Preventative Health Care Screenings for Seniors

Certain screenings should be included in your preventative health care measures to ensure you are detecting any potential issues in the early stages. Women should begin receiving breast cancer screenings at 50 years of age and should continue to receive scheduled mammograms every two years until reaching 74 years of age. A substantial number of newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer occur in women 65 years old and older. If your doctor determines you are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer, he or she may recommend having a mammogram more frequently to ensure symptoms are being detected at the earliest moment.

Men and women between 50 and 75 years of age should also receive colorectal cancer screenings. The frequency in which you should receive this screening will be determined by your doctor after he or she has assessed your risk factors. There are various screening tests available for colorectal cancer, and you can speak with your doctor to decide what option is best for you. Your chances of developing colorectal cancer increase substantially after you have turned 65 years of age. Receiving consistent screenings for this disease can help you prevent it from developing into an advanced stage.

In addition to breast cancer screenings and colorectal cancer screenings, seniors should be actively screened for cholesterol and diabetes. Your cholesterol screening will be conducted with a blood test. If you are overweight, your doctor may suggest diabetes screenings more frequently to ensure you are monitoring your health effectively. You will also need to receive an osteoporosis screening and a high blood pressure screening when conducting preventative health care procedures. You are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis and high blood pressure as you reach your senior years and detecting these issues in advance can help you create a treatment method for each.

Your blood pressure screening will be conducted during each visit you have scheduled with your primary care physician. Your osteoporosis screening will be conducted with a bone mass test upon request or once your doctor has assessed your risk factor for developing osteoporosis complications. If you have developed any of these healthcare issues, your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of treatment.

Determining Your Level of Preventive Health Care Coverage

Paying for preventative health care screenings and vaccines can prove costly if these items are not covered by your existing health insurance plan. Determining your level of preventative health care coverage can be done by contacting your insurance provider directly to gain information about what is and is not covered by your plan. If you are a senior with Medicare, preventive health services are free as per your selected insurance plan if the services are offered by Medicare. Additionally, you will be able to receive a free annual visit to your doctor through your Medicare coverage.

Regardless of your coverage level, every senior should receive an annual checkup from his or her doctor to ensure health issues are identified as early as possible. If you do not receive preventive health care coverage through your existing insurance plan, you may want to consider upgrading your plan to include these services. Receiving a yearly exam from your primary care physician is essential in maintaining your overall health and quality of life as you advance into your senior years. You can choose to upgrade your healthcare plan with your current insurance company to receive preventive health care coverage. You can also choose to switch healthcare providers if you feel as though you would prefer the plan of a different company over the one offered by your current provider. You may qualify for Medicare coverage if you have not already checked to determine your eligibility. Switching to this healthcare provider may prove useful, as you will be able to receive an annual exam and necessary screenings for free with this coverage.

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