What Medical Tests Do I Need at 40?

Diagnostic medical tests at 40 vary somewhat for men and women. So, if you’re wondering what medical tests do I need at 40, this article will answer that question. If you enjoy relatively good health, it’s still important to continue regular checkups and go for the diagnostic tests suggested by your primary care physician and other medical professionals.

For women and men, medical tests after 40 help uncover potential issues and lead to early treatment, which typically improves the prognosis. For many conditions, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, these screenings are the only way to reveal that there’s a problem. High blood pressure, for example, is a silent killer that has no symptoms.

What Are Common Medical Tests at 40 and Beyond?

Below, we discuss some common medical tests men and women need beginning at age 40. Of course, specific tests apply only to women or only to men. However, most are universal tests that can lead to an early diagnosis for conditions that threaten your health. So, it’s essential to prioritize scheduling these exams and screens.

Blood Pressure Screening

In 2019, nearly half the deaths in the United States listed hypertension as a contributing factor to death. Additionally, blood pressure issues contribute to heart disease, which is the leading killer for both sexes.

With regular blood pressure checks, you can determine whether you have a normal blood pressure of around 120 mmHg over 80 mmHg (120/80, systolic and diastolic, respectively). The range for high blood pressure begins at 130/80. Hypertension strains your major organs and can lead to kidney disease, strokes, and heart disease, to name a few of the conditions associated with hypertension.

Cholesterol Screening

Men should begin cholesterol screenings at age 35, even if they have no other risk factors for coronary disease. For women, the screening should begin by age 45.

Cholesterol is also known as a quiet killer due to lack of symptoms. Therefore, this is one of the most important medical tests at 40 and beyond. If you have a family history of cholesterol issues, regularly getting this screening is critical. That’s even more true if you have a poor diet or a few extra pounds.

Doctors can predict your risk of getting heart disease based on your cholesterol, blood pressure, and other factors. Give them the tools needed to detect early warning signs so that you can make the appropriate changes in your lifestyle.

Diabetes Check

What medical tests do I need at 40? When you ask yourself this, be sure to include a diabetes check, particularly if you have a family history of this disease. The American Diabetes Association recommends starting these screens at age 45 or before. When doctors predict your risk for heart disease, your blood sugar levels play an essential role.

With diabetes, many other conditions often arise that threaten your health. This includes heart disease, kidney disease, and the possibility of having a stroke. However, with a simple blood screening, you can put your mind at ease or change your lifestyle to avoid developing age-related diabetes.

Skin Check

During an annual skin check, a dermatologist will check your entire body. They look closely at moles, discolorations, and abnormal skin conditions. Catching life-threatening conditions such as melanoma early can significantly improve your chances for a complete recovery. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so it makes sense to engage in regular checkups with your dermatologist.

Eye Exam

The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests regular annual exams for men and women, particularly if you’re over the age of 40. Even if you don’t have issues with your vision now, an early diagnosis of age-related eye disease may preserve your vision.

Mammogram

While both men and women can get breast cancer, it’s far more prevalent in women. So, suggested medical tests at 40 for women include a mammogram. In addition, a family history of breast cancer makes it even more imperative to receive a baseline mammogram at age 40.

Cervical Cancer Screening

Many women begin regular checkups with their gynecologist at age 21 or sooner. Then, starting at age 40, women need to have a pap smear and HPV test to facilitate cervical cancer diagnosis or early warning symptoms. Typically, you will repeat these screenings at least every five years.

Prostate Screening

For men, medical tests after 40 should include prostate screenings. Risk factors for prostate cancer include having a family history of the disease. Also, African American men have a high-risk factor for developing prostate cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal screenings begin at age 50. However, you should start the conversation early with your health care provider. You may have risk factors that make it wise to start the screenings earlier.

Pelvic Exams and Pap Smears

As discussed, pap smears are an important diagnostic tool to detect cervical cancer. However, there are also other reasons that women should receive pelvic exams and pap smears regularly after 40. Many medical professionals perform a pelvic exam as part of your annual physical. Some primary care physicians perform pap smears, but you may need to visit your gynecologist to have one done. If you have had a hysterectomy, you may not need a pap smear.

Dental Exam

It’s vital for men and women who still have their teeth to visit the dentist once or twice a year for a checkup and cleaning. Poor oral health can lead to many other health issues, including heart disease. If you require more frequent visits due to problems with your teeth or gums, stick to the schedule to protect your health. 

Is it Time for You to have Some Updated Testing?

This article has answered the question of what medical tests do I need at 40. Doctor recommendations for medical tests at 40 and beyond can result in an early life-saving diagnosis. Completing these exams as prescribed can save your life. Make an appointment with a primary care physician to ensure that you remain in good health.

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