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.)
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 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.
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
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. »
4 Tests Every Man Should Have by 50
One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in men (after lung cancer). While prostate cancer most commonly occurs in men 65 or older, I recommend getting a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test at age 50 for a baseline reading. While some organizations have recently cautioned against yearly PSA testing, I think the test provides essential information — and should be done annually.
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and is particularly prevalent in African American men. While colonoscopy exams are recommended every 10 years beginning at age 50, those with a family history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease should be tested sooner.
A head-to-toe skin check can spot abnormalities in spots, freckles and moles that may be linked to skin cancer. Since most benign moles stop growing eventually, pay attention to new spots and to those that continue to grow or are larger than 1 centimeter.
Hearing loss affects nearly one-third of adults over age 65, and nearly half of all adults over 75, with more men affected than women. If you're experiencing symptoms like ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or difficulty hearing, be sure to tell your doctor.
3 Good Habits You Should Adopt
Build a "mood ring"
Maintaining a strong social network is key as you age, since positive friendships have been shown to boost spirits and even improve health. Having close friends may also help ward off depression, a disease that frequently goes undiagnosed among older men.
Trust your doctor
Men tend to avoid going to the doctor, even if a symptom persists. (Women are three times as likely as men to see a doctor on a regular basis.) But toughing it out is never the answer. Remember, your doctor is your ally in health, and ignoring a symptom won't make it go away.
Take your vitamin D
Vitamin D3 is essential for bone health and has been associated with reduced inflammation, too. Because it's difficult to get enough D3 from food, I recommend taking 1,000 international units in supplement form daily, with a healthy fat to improve absorption.
2 Bad Habits You Should Drop
Sitting too much
Spending long hours at your desk and then heading for your easy chair at home can increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease and premature death. Recent research shows that it's how much time you spend just sitting, even if you engage in daily exercise, that increases your risk for chronic disease.
Relying on technology
Men may be at risk for developing cognitive impairment more often than women. One surprising link to memory loss? Depending too much on external sources of memory, like cellphones. Dial at least one number by memory each day to stay sharp.
1 Health Product No Man Should Ever Leave Home Without
Men over 50 are twice as likely as women to develop and die from skin cancer, so it's time to lotion up. Keep sunscreen with you at all times, and reapply it every two hours when you're out in the sun. Focus on your ears and scalp — two areas where skin cancer is more common in men than women.
Next page: 5 numbers everyone should know. »
5 Numbers Everyone Should Know
About one in three people has high blood pressure, the driving force behind heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Because high blood pressure often has no symptoms, you'll need to keep track of your own numbers. The systolic pressure — the top number — should never be over 120.
Waist size is one of the strongest predictors of heart disease and diabetes. Measure yours by placing a measuring tape around your waist above your hip bone and below your rib cage. It should be less than half your height — about 35 inches for a man and 321/2 inches for a woman.
More than 60 percent of adults in the United States are overweight, and one-third are obese. For the average woman standing 5 feet 4 inches, the starting point for obesity is 175 pounds. The average man standing 5 feet 9 inches is obese if he weighs 196 pounds. Losing just 10 pounds can help.
Your cholesterol levels are measured with a simple blood test. But the total cholesterol number is not as important as knowing your HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. HDL should be above 40 mg/dL for a man and 50 mg/DL for a woman. LDL should be below 100 mg/dL.
Elevated blood sugar levels can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, even Alzheimer's disease. For the most accurate measurement, fasting blood sugar must be taken at least eight hours after eating. A fasting blood sugar reading above 100 is considered prediabetic.
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