As you age, there are many changes to your body and you can become more vulnerable to illness. It is important to have regular medical reviews to monitor these changes so that you can enjoy a longer, healthier and happier life.
Your doctor will complete medical reviews to examine the state of your current health and see if you are on the right track to good health. The review also helps to find, prevent or lessen the effect of health issues. The earlier problems are identified the better, as it will increase your chance for treatment and a cure. It is like servicing your car before it breaks down; preventing a disease is better than curing it.
Seeing a regular doctor or practice has many benefits. Most importantly, over time, you will have developed a good relationship with them and feel more comfortable talking openly about issues. Your doctor will also get to know you well, understand your health needs, and your potential concerns. Another positive is that your medical history stays in one place and can be easily updated.
Common age related conditions:
- Coronary heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Breathing problems
- Parkinson’s disease
- Eye problems – cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma
Age related degeneration:
- Decreased muscle strength and reaction time
- Decreased vision
- Decreased senses
What does a medical review involve?
- Updating your medical history and examining your health conditions;
- Performing or arranging examinations and investigations as required;
- Follow up on any problems identified;
- Making an overall assessment of your health;
- Recommending appropriate interventions to maximise your health; and,
- Providing advice and information to improve your health.
How can you prepare yourself?
- Be prepared for your doctor’s appointment. Make a list of your concerns; have a list of your current medications; consider bringing a family member or friend to the appointment
- Be clear and concise with the issues/symptoms you are experiencing
- Take time before the appointment to make note of when they are occurring, how often and for how long etc.
- Be honest
- Prioritise concerns
- Ask questions if you are unsure about something, for example certain tests or medications
- Take notes from the appointment
- Discuss family history and preventative strategies
- Review your family health history and let the doctor know if your close relatives have any new conditions or diseases since your last visit
- Find out if you are due for any general screenings or vaccinations based on your age, general health, family history, and lifestyle. Write these down so you will know what you have attended and what needs to be completed.
Important Health Checks
- Eye check
- Blood pressure check
- Cholesterol and glucose levels test
- Pap test and pelvic exam
- Testes examination
- Dental check
- Skin cancer checks
- Healthy weight assessments
- Breast check and mammogram
- Bone density scan
- Faecal occult blood test (FOBT)
- Hearing assessment
Vaccinations for Older Adults
As you age, your immune systems may become less effective at protecting you from diseases. This means that it is easier for you to catch infections and it may take longer to recover from them. Also, some of the immunity to diseases from childhood vaccinations may have been lost. Discuss vaccination options with your doctor.
Help and Resources
- Questions to ask your GP
- Immunise Australia Program