Turning 50 is one of life’s major milestones. You’ve reached the half-century mark and are closer to retirement, while still in the prime of your life. But with age being a risk factor for many diseases, it’s also beneficial to celebrate this birthday as a guidepost to preserving your health.
“One thing I’ve found working with patients who are older is that the ones who have the best outcomes are those who took control of their health at a younger age,” explains Dr Jason Juggapah of Sydney’s Bourke Street Clinic.
“Like with a car or any kind of machine, parts eventually wear out. Our bodies are the same. Cells don’t replicate with the same accuracy they did when we were younger.
“By having regular checks you’re more likely to spot these things when they start to go wrong, meaning interventions can be made earlier to prevent any further damage or reduce the likelihood that issues could progress.”
Here are the important health checks that every 50 year old should consider.
The risk of certain cancers increases as we age. Thankfully in Australia, there are Commonwealth-funded screening programs that make these check-ups accessible.
“For 50 and beyond, the main cancers you want to screen for are breast, cervical, bowel and prostate,” says Dr Juggapah. “The bowel screening is the biggest, and as part of your 50th birthday present the government sends you a bowel screening kit.”
Dr Juggapah ensures every one of his patients complete the screening, as it is effective in detecting colon and bowel cancers at an earlier stage, therefore enabling better treatment options.