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Healthy Living

Annual Health Screenings for Every Senior

As we enter the New Year, it’s important that our seniors schedule their Annual Medicare Wellness Visit in addition to their Annual Physical Exam:

Your Annual Wellness Visit

As part of your Medicare Benefits, Medicare covers an “Annual Wellness Visit” through your primary care physician (PCP).

This visit is not the same thing as your Annual Physical Exam. First of all, there’s no copay. Secondly, its goal is to help your doctor better understand your medical history as well as your potential risk factors for illness.

Your Annual Physical each year should include:

  • Checking height and weight
  • Screening for alcohol and tobacco use
  • Screening for depression
  • Screening for the risk of falls or medication interactions
  • Screening for hearing loss

You should also:

  • Get your blood pressure checked every year
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you need to be monitored more closely

Diabetes screening:

  • Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure

Cholesterol screening:

  • Get your cholesterol checked every year
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely

Colon cancer screening:

  • A stool test every year
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years along with a stool occult blood test
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years. Patients with risk factors for colon cancer, including ulcerative colitis, a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, or a history of large colorectal adenomas may need a colonoscopy more often

Osteoporosis screening:

  • Have a bone mineral density test once, then talk to your doctor about repeat testing

Dental exam:

  • Go to the dentist every year for an exam and cleaning.

Eye exam:

  • Have an eye exam every 2 years, especially if you have vision problems or risk factors for glaucoma

Men Only

Prostate cancer screening:

Have a rectal exam every year. Discuss screening with your physician.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening:

If you ever smoked you should have an ultrasound done once to screen for abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Women Only

Cervical cancer:

Pap smear every 1 to 3 years at patient/ physician discretion or for those at high risk If you have had a total hysterectomy for cancer, you should get an annual Pap smear.

Breast cancer screening:

Get a mammogram every year through age 74. Age 75 and older, ask your doctor about repeat testing.