Regularly scheduled wellness exams, physicals, medical tests and health screenings are important to maintaining overall positive health and go a long way toward minimizing the occurrence of the top three occurrences of elderly death- heart attack, cancer and stroke. The following is a list of key medical tests and health screenings important to women as they age in place. Note: For tests and screenings for men and women, please click on the following phrase; medical tests and health screenings for men and women combined. For tests and screenings for men, please click on the following phrase: medical tests and health screenings for men as older adults.
BONE DENSITY TEST
Known as a DXA scan (densitometry), physicians use this scan to determine if a patient has osteoporosis or is at risk for osteoporosis. This testing should start at the age of sixty-five (65); age sixty (60) for those women who are at an increased risk for fractures and/or have a low body weight and for certain women who are prone to fall or who have fallen one or more times.
BREAST CANCER SCREENING
It is generally agreed in the medical community that all women above the age of fifty (50) should be screened with mammograms annually. Some organizations such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommend screenings for mammograms start at the age of forty (40) and above. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends scheduling annual mammograms up to the age of seventy-four (74).
CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING
Older adult women should be screened for cervical cancer up to the age of sixty-five (65) if the older adult has maintained “adequate screening”. Adequate screening is defined as three (3) consecutive negative tests or two 92) consecutive HPV/Pap co-tests in the ten (10) years prior to stopping, with the most recent within five (5) years.
THYROID TEST (TSH)
This test is for thyroid disease measures the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone being produced by the female body. The score is used to determine whether medication therapy is needed and if a physician should adjust the medication to help a patient reach a healthy and normal level. Older adult women age sixty (60) and older should have a TSH test annually.