Falls, sometimes resulting in broken bones, are a major common medical issue for seniors. Many seniors start to notice a slowing of reflexes as they age and this can lead to some issues with coordination. Heart disease is more common in seniors, as are many other major health problems. Seniors may face both physical and mental changes as they age, so recognizing these issues by seeing the doctor regularly is very important.
Since every senior is unique, a senior checkup can be customized according to each patient's specific needs. The doctor will always do a blood pressure check as this can set a baseline for future comparisons. The doctor will also measure height and weight to keep track of major changes. A change in height could indicate osteoporosis, and major weight changes could indicate anything from fluid retention to cancer. The doctor will typically do blood tests during a senior checkup as well. These blood tests will check glucose levels, thyroid function, serum electrolytes, and other important things. The doctor will often perform an EKG on senior patients, as well. The EKG can monitor the electrical activity of the heart and may indicate emerging problems.
Senior patients should have checkups at least once every year. However, if you notice any symptoms or health problems in between yearly exams, it is important to see the doctor as soon as possible. Many health problems can be treated far more effectively when they are addressed as quickly as possible, rather than allowing them to build up and possibly become untreatable. For example, an emerging heart issue does not have to be devastating or even difficult if you get help for it as soon as you develop symptoms. Resist the urge to put off doctor visits as a senior - your health and well-being are worth it!
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