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In Your 40s
RECOMMENDED HEALTH SCREENINGS & IMMUNIZATIONS

These are guidelines only. Your doctor or nurse will personalize the timing of each test to meet your specific healthcare needs. Scan this list below to review the recommended health screenings and immunizations. Need to schedule a screening, click this phone number to call: 573-629-3500. More information about each item is listed below.


General health

  • Full checkup — Including weight and height. Some women prefer to have the annual checkup with their OB-GYN and others prefer their Primary Care Provider. Beginning in your 40s, you may also want to consider transitioning to an Internist if you have multiple health conditions. Internal medicine physicians typically treat adults and specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and management of disease and chronic conditions. If you are in need of a primary care provider or an internist, contact: 573-629-3440 and for OB-GYN services, please contact 573-629-3500.
  • Sleep habits — Discuss at your annual exam. Your provider may offer a sleep study to review your sleep habits. It can help diagnose your sleep issues. Some of the main reasons to have a sleep study include: excessive snoring, sleep apnea (periods where the breath stops), insomnia (inability to sleep), narcolepsy (sudden onset of sleep) and restless leg syndrome (irresistible urge to move your legs at night)
  • Thyroid (TSH) test —Discuss with your doctor or nurse. A healthcare provider will order a thyroid test if you have symptoms or signs of an overactive or underactive thyroid gland. Symptoms of an overactive thyroid, as know as hyperthyroidism, are a lump in the front of your neck, anxiety, frequent, loose bowel movements, difficulty sleeping, double vision, irregular heart beat, muscle weakness, rapid fingernail growth, rapid heartbeat, shaky hands, sweating, thinning skin and weight loss despite increased appetite. An underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism has symptoms such as fatigue, sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, puffy face, hoarseness, muscle weakness, elevated blood cholesterol level, joint pain, thinning hair, slowed heart rate, depression or impaired memory. Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
  • HIV screening — Get this test if you are at risk for HIV infection (unprotected sex, sexually transmitted disease, or used drugs with needles).
  • Hepatitis C (HCV) screening — Most people with an acute Hepatitis C infection do not experience any symptoms or show signs of the infection. Hepatitis C symptoms are generally mild and flu-like and include: feeling tired, sore muscles, joint pain, fever, nausea, stomach pain, itchy skin, dark urine and a yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes, called jaundice. Some of the dangers in not treating Hepatitis C are liver damage, you can spread the disease to others and it's potentially fatal if not treated. Talk with your doctor today to see if this screening is for you.

Heart health

Talk with your primary care provider about your heart health concerns or contact a cardiologist for a heart screening. You can contact Hannibal Regional Medical Group Cardiologists at 573-629-3300

  • Blood pressure test — A blood pressure test should be performed at least every two years. High blood pressure is largely a symptomless "silent killer." If you ignore your blood pressure you are taking a dangerous chance with your life.
  • Cholesterol panel — Total, LDL, HDL and triglycerides; discuss with your doctor or nurse. High cholesterol also has no symptoms and if left untreated it could lead to a heart attack or stroke. 

Bone health

  • Supplements — Discuss with your doctor or OB-GYN, call 573-629-3500 to ask if you need Calcium or Vitamin D supplements? Here are some of the risk factors for osteoporosis are: Age 30+, family history, previous broken bones, rheumatoid arthritis and current smoker. You may not have any symptoms or pain. 

Diabetes

  • Blood glucose or A1c test — As you age, monitoring your blood sugar levels becomes more and more important. Get screened, in your 40s, especially if you have sustained blood pressure greater than 135/80, take medicine for high blood pressure, or are at risk for developing diabetes. While many people do not feel symptoms with type 2 diabetes, common symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, excessive hunger, fatigue, blurry vision and sores or cuts that won't heal are important to recognize. According to the CDC, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in Americans. Over 12% of adults 20 years and older have diabetes - over 8 million undiagnosed and are not currently being treated.

Breast health

  • Breast self-exam —Become familiar with your breasts so you can identify any changes and discuss with your doctor or nurse.
  • Clinical breast exam —Yearly.
  • Mammogram — Every 1-2 years. Official recommendations vary. Early detection is key when diagnosing and treating breast cancer. Discuss the schedule that is right for you with your doctor or nurse. To schedule a mammogram or a 3D mammogram, call 573-248-5688.

Reproductive health

Menopause is the end of a woman's menstrual cycle and fertility.It happens naturally with age.You may notice in your 40s that you begin to have some menopause symptoms like hot flashes and this is known as perimenopause. You can still get pregnant during this time.

  • Pap test — At least every three years.
  • Pelvic exam — Yearly.
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests —Both partners should get tested for STIs, including HIV, before initiating sexual intercourse. Get a chlamydia test if you have new or multiple partners.
  • Contraception — Discuss with your OB-GYN about your options for birth control.

Mental health screening

  • Discuss with your doctor or nurse.

Eye and ear health

  • Comprehensive eye exam — Several factors may determine how frequently you need an eye exam, including your age, health and risk of developing eye problems. General guidelines are as follows: Every 5 years in your 40s unless you already have vision correction glasses or contacts - you will want to see your eye doctor more often. 
  • Hearing test — Every 10 years. Hearing loss can be congenital, or present at birth, or can develop suddenly at any age due to medical conditions or certain medications. Generally, hearing loss is associated with aging and develops gradually later in life. If you have ringing in your ear, hearing loss, buzzing or vertigo. To schedule an appointment, call 573-629-3301.

Skin health

  • Skin exam  —  Monthly self-exam of skin and moles and as part of a routine full checkup with your doctor or nurse. To schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon to review skin conditions, call 573-629-3500. LThe ABCDEs of Melanoma help make it easier to determine if you need to be checked for skin cancer. Look at your moles for any of these signs: A - Asymmetrical shape, B - Border, typically melanoma lesions have irregular borders that are difficult to define, C - color, the presence of more than one color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma, D - Diameter, lesions that are greater than 6 milimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser). Please note that not all melanomas fall within the ABCDE parameters so visit your doctor regulary to catch any potential issues early.

Oral health

  • Dental cleaning and exam — Every 6 months; discuss with your dentist. 

Immunizations

  • Seasonal influenza vaccine — Yearly.  The flu shot is one of the easiest ways to help prevent the flu.
  • Tetanus - diphtheria - pertussis vaccine (Tdap) — Once during your lifetime. Tetanus is a dangerous nerve ailment caused by the toxin of a common bacterium most frequently found in dirt. Diphtheria is a very contagious infection that makes it difficult to breathe and in severe cases, it can cause heart and nerve damage. Pertussis, or whooping cough, is an extremely contagious respiratory infection that can lead to severe breathing problems, especially in infants. The CDC recommends the Tdap vaccine for all adults ages 19 and older who have never received the vaccine, especially:
    • Health care workers who have direct contact with patients
    • Caregivers of infants under 1 year old, including parents, grandparents, and babysitters
    • Pregnant women in their third trimester (ideally 27th through 36th week), even if they have previously received Tdap vaccine; this can protect a newborn from whooping cough in the first months of life.
    • New mothers who have never received the Tdap
    • People who travel to countries where pertussis is common
  • Tetanus - diphtheria booster vaccine Every 10 years to adequately protect you against tetanus and diphtheria.

For more information about immunizations, contact your primary care provider or call 573-629-3500.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.