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In Your 80s

This is the time to give and accept help, and reflect on achievements and the legacy you want to leave.

These are guidelines only. Your doctor or nurse will personalize the timing of each test to meet your specific healthcare needs.

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General health

  • Full checkup — Including weight and height.
  • Sleep habits — Discuss at your annual exam.
  • Thyroid (TSH) test—Discuss with your doctor or nurse.
  • HIV screening — Get this test if you are at risk for HIV infection (unprotected sex, sexually transmitted disease, or used drugs with needles).

Heart health

  • Blood pressure test — At least every two years.
  • Cholesterol panel — Total, LDL, HDL and triglycerides; discuss with your doctor or nurse.

Bone health

  • Bone density screen — Get a bone mineral test at least once. Talk to your doctor or nurse about repeat testing.

Diabetes

  • Blood glucose or A1c test — Get screened if you have sustained blood pressure greater than 135/80, take medicine for high blood pressure, or are at risk for developing diabetes.

Breast health

  • Breast self-exam— Become familiar with your breasts so you can identify any changes and discuss with your doctor or nurse.
  • Mammogram — Official recommendations vary. Discuss the schedule that is right for you with your doctor or nurse.
  • Clinical breast exam —Yearly.

Reproductive health

  • Pap test — Discuss with your doctor or nurse.
  • 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.

Mental health screening

  • Discuss with your doctor or nurse.

Colorectal health

  • Fecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy — Discuss with your doctor or nurse.

Eye and ear health

  • Comprehensive eye exam — Every 1-2 years.
  • Hearing test — Every three years.

Skin health

  • Skin exam — Monthly self-exam of skin and moles and as part of a routine full checkup with your doctor or nurse.

Oral health

  • Dental cleaning and exam— Every 12- 24 months; discuss with your dentist.

Immunizations

  • Seasonal influenza vaccine — Yearly.
  • Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster vaccine — Every 10 years.
  • Pneumococcal vaccine — One time only.
  • Herpes zoster vaccine — (to prevent shingles) — One time only; discuss with your doctor or nurse.

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

Download the In Your 80s PDF