11 Recommended Medical Tests for Adults

Don't wait until you get ill! Prevention is the best medicine, especially as we age. So, here you can get to know the medical tests you should get done soon.
11 Recommended Medical Tests for Adults
Leonardo Biolatto

Written and verified by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Last update: 12 April, 2023

As we age, the body becomes more susceptible to chronic diseases, especially if we have a family history of certain pathologies. To avoid long-term complications, it’s necessary to undergo periodic recommended medical tests that allow us to detect health problems in their early stages.

From the age of 50 onwards, the risk of suffering from diseases increases. For this reason, we invite you to find out which medical tests you should have between the ages of 40 and 65.

Some medical tests are recommended for all adults over the age of 40. These aren’t only for patients who already have a history, but are screening methods for the general population.

1. Colon cancer screening

The test most recommended by experts for colon cancer screening is a colonoscopy, a test in which the colon is examined with a flexible tube with a camera. Other options, such as fecal occult blood testing and rectosigmoidoscopy, are also available but are less sensitive.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Therefore, its early detection is critical to initiate an effective approach.

A check-up of this type should be performed between the ages of 50 and 75, even if there are no symptoms.

2. Body weight

Being overweight and obese can significantly increase the risk of chronic diseases. According to scientific studies, weight gain is associated with diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and some types of cancer.

You need to be aware of your weight and counteract this risk factor with a healthy diet and regular physical activity. These are simple measures that could change your quality of life.

3. Blood pressure measurement

This is a quick and simple test that measures the force that blood exerts on the walls of the arteries as it flows through the body. A device called a sphygmomanometer, which consists of an inflatable cuff that is placed around the arm and a manometer that measures the pressure, is used to perform the measurement.

A blood pressure measurement is simple, inexpensive and quick. It can usually be done in the office with your trusted physician.

A four-monthly blood pressure measurement is an optimal frequency from the age of 40.

4. Cholesterol test

A cholesterol test is performed as part of a blood test. The amount of cholesterol and triglycerides is measured. The former are divided into total cholesterol, HDL or good cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol.

If your total or LDL cholesterol levels are elevated, your doctor may recommend diet and lifestyle changes to prevent cardiovascular or liver disease.

5. Blood sugar testing

Blood sugar testing is done to screen for diabetes or prediabetes. It also detects hypoglycemia, a condition in which blood sugar levels are abnormally low. It’s usually performed on an empty stomach.

Blood glucose should be measured every 3 years after the age of 45.

6. Ophthalmologic tests

A complete ophthalmologic examination is important around age 40. However, if you have previous vision problems or a family history of glaucoma, for example, prior testing is recommended.

7. Physical examination

It’s important that you attend regular appointments with your trusted physician for a physical examination. This will help you detect diseases and assess the risks of future problems.

The general checkup ranges from psychological to a review of eating habits and skin examinations. Everything, in order to assess overall health.

There are medical tests that are specific for women over 40. Menopause can increase the risk of certain diseases, so early detection of the most common pathologies is a priority.

8. Bone densitometry

According to the European Journal of Rheumatology the most common test for detecting osteoporosis is bone densitometry (BMD). It measures the concentration and density of the bone in certain regions of the body, usually in the spine, hip, and wrist.

Osteoporosis is more common in women, but it can also occur in men. However, clinical guidelines emphasize periodic BMD for women.

BMD should be performed every 3-5 years in women without ongoing treatment for osteoporosis.

9. Breast cancer screening

The breast cancer screening test par excellence is mammography, which is an X-ray specifically for the breasts. It’s recommended that women over the age of 40 have a mammogram every two years for early detection.

However, women who have had, or have, a sister or mother affected by breast cancer should consider an annual mammogram, whatever their age.

Between the ages of 45 and 55, women should have an annual mammogram.

10. Screening for cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is a type of neoplasm that develops in the lower part of the uterus and can be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Its early detection is fundamental for a successful approach.

That’s why it’s recommended that women should start having a Pap test at the age of 21. It should be repeated every 3 years until the age of 65.

HPV testing, now available in some countries, can be done every 5 years between the ages of 30 and 65.

Some tests are recommended only for men, due to their anatomical particularities. Specifically, we’re talking about the prostate and the risk of cancer in this organ.

11. Prostate cancer screening

Early detection of prostate cancer is important because most cases are asymptomatic in the early stages. This means that obvious symptoms don’t appear until the disease has progressed.

The test for prostate cancer screening is called the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA test. It’s carried out through a blood test.

In addition to the PSA test, men can have a digital rectal exam, or digital rectal exam, to detect any irregularities or abnormalities in the prostate. If there’s suspicion of cancer, other more specific studies will be performed.

From the age of 40, an annual PSA measurement is recommended.

Medical tests for a better life

As the years go by, the body undergoes changes that increase the risk of suffering chronic diseases. From the age of 50 onwards, it’s common for the body to become more vulnerable to certain diseases, as explained by the National Council of Aging. This is due to a combination of factors.

That’s why it’s important to take care of your health as you get older. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising, avoiding alcohol, and, of course, getting recommended medical tests.

Preventive screenings are a valuable tool for detecting problems before they become serious, debilitating illnesses. Maintaining a close relationship with your doctor will help you make informed decisions.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.