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The Health Screenings You Need at 50+

Here’s what medical experts recommend, based on your gender and age


Blood Pressure Screening

What is it?    
A test that measures the force of blood flow through your arteries.   

When to get it?    
At least every two years.

Cholesterol Screening   

What is it?
A blood test that measures cholesterol levels, including LDL (low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol); HDL (high-density lipoprotein, the "good" cholesterol); and total cholesterol.

When to get it?    
Screen at least every five years if other indicators of cardiovascular disease are present.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

What is it?    
Three methods are recommended for colorectal cancer screening. A colonoscopy uses a camera to check for cancer, polyps, ulcers and other abnormalities in the colon and rectum. A sigmoidoscopy also uses a camera to check for those conditions, but only in the pelvic colon and rectum. Stool sample tests check for blood in the stool.

When to get it?
For all methods, start at age 50 and stop at age 75. For colonoscopy, every 10 years or more often if you have risk factors. For sigmoidoscopy, every five years or more often if you have risk factors. For stool sample tests, every year.

Osteoporosis Screening   

What is it?
A bone density test is an X-ray that measures calcium and other minerals in the bone to check for osteoporosis.   

When to get it?
Every two to five years for women 65 and older. Women younger than 65 with risk factors should talk to their doctor about a screening.

Next: Health screenings for men, ages 50 to 59. »

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