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Medical tests for your 60s and beyond

Our bodies change as we get older, and there are medical check-ups that may be recommended to help spot any problems and to work towards healthy ageing.

Some tests are standard in the NHS at certain ages, while others may be done depending on a person's risk factors, such as a family history of health problems.

Blood pressure

You could be one of the hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who have high blood pressure and don't know it. Get your blood pressure checked by your doctor as often as advised. Your heart, not to mention your arteries, brain, eyes and kidneys, will thank you later.

Stepping on the scales

Welcome to the weight gain time bomb: muscle is replaced by fat as we get older. And fat goes to your waist! Also, you don't burn calories as well as before because your body's metabolism is slowing down. Take heed of any weight gain; you could be robbing yourself of good health.

Bowel cancer screening

You should automatically receive an invitation through the post to take part in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. This service, which runs independently from your GP, comes in the form of a faecal occult blood test (FOBT). This test detects blood that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Ask your doctor for more information if you are not clear about the arrangement.

Other colon cancer screening tests

Colonoscopy is just one of several tests that can be performed to look for colon cancer. If you have any worrying signs or symptoms that might suggest a possibility of bowel cancer, or if you have close relatives who have had the disease at a young age, your doctor may recommend that you have a colonoscopy.

For women - mammogram

Breast cancer risk increases with age. Therefore, it's especially important for you to get your free NHS mammogram every three years. This is automatically offered to all women aged between 50 and 70. After 70 you must actively request a mammogram via your GP. The NHS is extending the age range of women routinely invited to have a mammogram to ages 47 – 73 years old.

For women - smear test

Many women over 60 still need to have regular smear tests even after routine screening stops, depending on their risk factors and previous test results.

Protecting your eyes

Eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, are more common with age. Your eyes should be checked regularly and screening can help preserve and maximise your vision. Go more often if you have vision problems.

Hearing test

At least 30% of people over 60 have some hearing loss, most of which is treatable. Get a hearing test as often as advised. You can get a free test on the NHS if you are concerned about your hearing but you may have to wait a few weeks. There are many high street services offering tests privately.

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