50s

In Your 50s

Now is the time to cultivate your vitality in life and in health. These are guidelines only. Your doctor or nurse will personalize the timing of each test to meet your specific healthcare needs.

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General health

  • Full checkup — Including weight and height.
  • Sleep habits — Discuss at your annual exam.
  • Thyroid (TSH) test — Discuss with your doctor or nurse.
  • HIV screening — Get this test if you are at risk for HIV infection (unprotected sex, sexually transmitted disease, or used drugs with needles).
  • Hepatitis C (HCV) screening — Get this one-time screening if you were born between 1945 and 1965.

Heart health

  • Blood pressure test — At least every two years.
  • Cholesterol panel — Total, LDL, HDL and triglycerides; discuss with your doctor or nurse.

Bone health

  • Bone density screen — Discuss with your doctor or nurse.

Diabetes

  • Blood glucose or A1c test — Get screened if you have sustained blood pressure greater than 135/80, take medicine for high blood pressure, or are at risk for developing diabetes.

Breast health

  • Breast self-exam — Become familiar with your breasts so you can identify any changes and discuss with your doctor or nurse.
  • Clinical breast exam — Yearly.
  • Mammogram — Every 1-2 years. Official recommendations vary. Discuss the schedule that is right for you with your doctor or nurse.

Reproductive health

  • Pap test — Discuss with your doctor or nurse.
  • Pelvic exam — Yearly.
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests —Both partners should get tested for STIs, including HIV, before initiating sexual intercourse. Get a chlamydia test if you have new or multiple partners.

Mental health screening

  • Discuss with your doctor or nurse.

Colorectal health

  • Fecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy — Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Eye and ear health

  • Comprehensive eye exam — Every 1-2 years.
  • Hearing test — Every three years.

Skin health

  • Skin exam — Monthly self-exam of skin and moles and as part of a routine full checkup with your doctor or nurse.

Oral health

  • Dental cleaning and exam— Every 12-24 months; discuss with your dentist.

Immunizations

  • Seasonal influenza vaccine — Yearly.
  • Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster vaccine — Every 10 years.
  • Pneumococcal vaccine — One time only.
  • Herpes zoster vaccine — (to prevent shingles) — One time only; discuss with your doctor or nurse.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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