Q:  I will be 50 next year, and am confused as to what I need to do about recommended wellness.

A:  Wellness visits can help you stay healthy.  The doctor can recommend testing, better eating, regular exercise, and other steps.  After age 50, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar should be tested yearly.  A pap smear is recommended every 5 years until age 65, and mammograms every 2 years.  The first colonoscopy is recommended at age 50, and every 10 years after- unless a problem arises.   Hepatitis C should be checked once.  Prostate should be checked yearly.  Vaccines recommendations are for flu shots ever year, Pnuemovax every 3 years, and Prevnar twice until age 65.  Heart and stroke risk should be assessed every 5 years.  If you have smoked, a scan of the aorta for aneurysm should be done once, as it causes a higher risk.  Other testing to address issues may need to done, but this is a guideline of the minimum needed to keep you healthy after age 50. It is important to stay at a healthy weight.  This will lower your risk for many problems, such as a diabetes and heart disease.  Walking is always a good choice of exercise as you age.  Smoking can make health problems worse.  If you are having trouble quitting, the doctor can give you medication that will help.  Protect your skin from too much sun, and always wear a seat belt.  Limit alcohol to one drink per day.  Be sure to get an eye exam and also see a dentist, yearly.

Dr. Rick Casey

Questions can be submitted directly to the providers, called in to Mercy Clinic at 417/876-5851 or submitted through their new App mymercy.net.

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