Knowing what to ask your doctor can be challenging. While your provider is always there to answer all of your medical questions, it is important to understand what to ask based on your age. Below are topics you should discuss with your doctor while in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Discuss with your doctor how to abide by a heart-healthy lifestyle; ensure that you are getting enough routine physical activity and eating a healthy diet to reduce your risk of developing conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. There are also some cancer screenings that start as early as 21 (cervical cancer) that you may want to discuss, as well as if you should be screened for sexually transmitted infections. The most common cause of death in this age group is injury/accidents (car accidents, drowning, firearms, etc.), so do not be surprised if your doctor is checking in with you about safety issues like wearing seatbelts, helmets, and properly stored firearms.
This is the age range when most cancer screenings start, with breast cancer and colon cancer being at the top of the list. Speak to your doctor about what is the best screening method for you and when you should get started. Discuss with your doctor if you are at risk for conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, or sleep apnea, as well as any significant diseases that run in the family. Prevention is key!
Discuss with your doctor any specific health concerns you have, or any new symptoms you may be experiencing. Ask your doctor if any preventative screenings are needed based on your age and risk factors. It is a good idea to discuss with your doctor things that are often overlooked in your 50s including your diet, sleep, body weight as well as addressing any mental health concerns you may have. You are eligible for the shingles vaccine at this age and should consult with your doctor if you are considering receiving the shingles vaccine.
Many people retire in their 60s which often brings up a lot of questions and topics to discuss with your physician. This may include topics such as activities to stay active both physically and mentally, travel health considerations, as well as a variety of health screenings. There are also several vaccines that are recommended in your 60s that you should consult with your physician. It is also important to address any concerns of anxiety or depression you may experience during this adjustment period after retirement.
As your relationship with your doctor continues to grow, make sure to address your mental health and well-being. A lot of changes happen to your body in your older adult years. Understand what is normal. Is experiencing pain normal at this age, and how much pain is acceptable to live with? Having an earnest discussion with your doctor “Do I really need to take all these pills?” is important to avoid medication side effects and drug interactions. Preventing communicable diseases like pneumonia, COVID and the flu with vaccinations is very important in this age range as your risk for developing severe illness increases.