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AARP The Magazine

Dr. Oz's Health Guide for Men and Women

America's most famous TV doctor offers his prescription for living a good, long life

En español l Follow Dr. Oz's recommendations to maintain good health. Learn the tests you need to get, the bad habits you can lose and what you should never leave home without. Plus, five numbers everyone needs to know.


4 Tests Every Woman Should Have by 50


Colon cancer isn't just a men's disease; in fact, it kills more women than ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer combined. You'll need a colonoscopy at age 50 and then once every 10 years after that. (You may need to be tested more often if you have a family history of the disease or if you've had polyps in the past.)

Healthy woman dressed sharply

Women should have an annual Pap test until age 65. — Ben Baker

Pap test

A Pap smear can detect cervical cancer in its earlier stages, when treatment is most effective. A common misconception is that you can stop getting tested after menopause; don't believe it. Get tested annually until age 65 (your risk declines greatly after that if you have had two or three negative tests in the previous 10 years).

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Starting at age 40, every woman should get a baseline mammogram to which doctors can compare future screenings. You may also want to discuss yearly mammograms with your doctor, especially if you're at high risk for developing breast cancer. While there has been considerable controversy over mammogram frequency, I recommend getting annual mammograms starting at age 50.

Bone density

Bone fractures due to osteoporosis rise significantly as you age, particularly for those past menopause. A bone-density test can determine your risk for the bone-thinning disease, and your doctor can prescribe bisphosphonates to curb any further loss.

3 Good Habits You Should Adopt

Pad your joints

After age 55, osteoarthritis affects more women than men, and it increases in frequency with age. Protection is key to keeping your joints healthy, so invest in a pair of kneepads and use them when kneeling on hard surfaces.

Do your Kegels (pelvic-floor exercises)

Pregnancy, childbirth and aging can weaken your pelvic-floor muscles, causing urinary leakage and incontinence. To enjoy your usual activities without the fear of public embarrassment, make Kegel exercises part of your daily routine.

Go fish

Omega-3s, especially those found in fish oil, may help protect those cognitive wheels as you age. Get your omega-3s from fatty fish like salmon two to three times a week. I also recommend a daily fish oil pill with 600 mg of DHA.

2 Bad Habits You Should Drop

Eating fat-free

Since the "cut down on fat" food craze began 30 years ago, the obesity rate in America has more than doubled. What many don't realize is that fat-free products often contain added sugars, flour and calories. So choose low-fat over no-fat when possible.

Pill-popping for every ache and pain

It astounds me how frequently people reach for over-the-counter painkillers without trying to address the cause of the problem. If you do this, ask your doctor to work with you to find out the underlying source of your pain. Try exercise and stress-relieving activities, too.

1 Health Product No Woman Should Ever Leave Home Without


Women are twice as likely as men to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a serious condition of the eye's retina that gradually destroys the sharp vision needed for common daily tasks like driving or reading. Bright light may be involved in the process that starts AMD, so make sure to carry your sunglasses with you at all times.

Next page: 4 tests every man should have by 50. »

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