Geriatric health checkup

  • At any stage of life, it’s important to eat healthy and have an active lifestyle in order to keep diseases away. 
  • But how does one know if their intake or their activities are healthy for them? Regular health check-ups provide a solution to this.
  •  They keep your health in check and provide you with insights on what’s going wrong and what can be done better for a healthier life.
  •  These check-ups become crucial when you hit 60, as the body develops health problems that might be the cause for incurable diseases. 
  • Regular comprehensive tests become a must as it helps you take precautions proactively before the situation gets worse.
  • All elderly above 60 should undergo the following tests annually or once in six months according to comorbidities :–

1. Hemogram

  • Hemogram or complete blood count(CBC), counts the cells that make up the blood. 
  • This includes red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
  •  It’s usually done to check for anaemia, explain symptoms like weakness, tiredness, keeping an eye on the blood condition, or seeing how the body is responding to medications like chemotherapy.

2. KFT

  • Kidney function tests simply identify problems with one’s kidney. These include blood and urine tests.
  •  Doctors may also advise KFT in case one has diabetes or high blood pressure that can affect the kidney. 

3. LFT

  • Liver function tests identify problems with one’s liver. 
  • It is suggested by the doctor to check for liver damage which can occur due to many reasons such as drinking alcohol heavily, side-effects of certain medications, liver infections among others.

4. Lipid profile

  • Development of diabetes, high blood pressure or heart diseases make the elderly prone to high blood cholesterol.
  •  A lipid profile test is done to check the status of blood cholesterol values.

5. Thyroid profile

  • The thyroid gland is crucial for the proper functioning of the body’s metabolism as it maintains important daily functions like heart rate, temperature, breathing, etc. 
  • The test includes measuring levels of T4, T3, and TSH hormones. Generally, the doctor will suggest all three tests to come to a conclusion on whether one has a thyroid problem or not.

6. Serum calcium

  • All cells in the body require calcium to function properly. It helps build strong teeth and bones, facilitates muscle contraction and blood clotting. 
  • One should get this test done if they face symptoms or signs like bone disease, kidney or liver disease, low vitamin D level among others. It is also taken if one has had bed rest for a long time.

7. Urine routine

  • The urine routine test is performed on urine to check for any kidney-related diseases or urinary tract infections. 
  • One should consider this test if they have symptoms like burning on urination, bloody or cloudy urine, chills, fever, itching,back pain or metallic taste in the mouth.

8. Stool for occult blood

  • Occult blood is the small amount of blood that is too small to be seen or change the appearance of stool. 
  • These can go easily undetected manually by elders and may end up being a serious disease like colon cancer if not taken care of at early stages. 
  • Stool Occult Blood tests help identify the occult blood and start the curing procedure earlier.

9. Prostate-Specific Antigen – PSA (for males):-

  • Prostate cancer grows slowly and never grows beyond the prostate gland.
  •  If detected early most cancers are curable and hence it’s important to identify such diseases before it’s too late. PSA test helps detect prostate cancer early. 
  • For men in their 60s, a normal PSA score is between 1.0-1.5 ng/ml.

10. Pap Smear (for females)

  • The HPV virus can affect the cells of the cervix causing cervical cancer in women.
  • Just as prostate cancer in males, cervical cancer is a slow process involving the cells. It is generally preventable by screening tests also known as the Pap Smear test. 
  • It can catch the abnormality early on and the precancerous cells can be scraped away on time.

11. ECG

  • ECG test or electrocardiogram test detects heart problems by monitoring the electrical activity generated by the heart. 
  • A doctor may advise an ECG test to a senior if the patient smokes, is overweight, has high blood pressure or diabetes, experiences chest pain, breathlessness, dizziness, irregular heartbeats or has a family history of heart disease.

12. Vitamin B12

  • A healthy level of vitamin B12 means a good nutrition level in the elderly. 
  • It is responsible for making red blood cells in the body and maintaining the proper functioning of nerve cells.
  •  The most common symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency is neuropathy, memory problems, fatigue, and walking difficulties.
  •  It is crucial to get tested regularly to monitor and maintain proper levels of Vitamin B12.

13.Vitamin D3

  •  Vitamin D helps absorb calcium and is hence responsible for bone growth. 
  • This nutrient is especially important for seniors as their bone density decreases with age and hence getting a vitamin D3 test regularly becomes important.

14. X-Ray Chest

  • An X-ray of the chest is a radiology test that produces an image of the chest and the internal organs.
  •  An X-ray chest is most commonly used to detect abnormalities in the lungs, heart, aorta, and the bones of the thoracic area. 
  • It helps detect conditions and diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, cysts, tumors, cancers, asthma, heart failure, and fractures in the elderly, all conditions that seniors become more susceptible to with age.

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