Health screenings for women age 65 and older

Definition

You should visit your health care provider from time to time, even if you are healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:

Alternative Names

Health maintenance visit - women - over age 65; Physical exam - women - over age 65; Yearly exam - women - over age 65; Checkup - women - over age 65; Women's health - over age 65; Preventive care exam - women - over age 65

Information

Even if you feel fine, you should still see your provider for regular checkups. These visits can help you avoid problems in the future. For example, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. High blood sugar and high cholesterol levels also may not have any symptoms in the early stages. A simple blood test can check for these conditions.

There are specific times when you should see your provider or receive specific health screenings. The US Preventive Services Task Force publishes a list of recommended screenings. Below are screening guidelines for women age 65 and older.

BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING

Have your blood pressure checked at least once every year. Watch for blood pressure screenings in your area. Ask your provider if you can stop in to have your blood pressure checked. You can also check your blood pressure using the automated machines at local grocery stores and pharmacies.

Ask your provider if you need your blood pressure checked more often if:

BREAST CANCER SCREENING

CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING

After age 65, most women who have not been diagnosed with cervical cancer or precancer can stop having screening tests, as long as:

CHOLESTEROL SCREENING

If your cholesterol level is normal, have it rechecked at least every 5 years.

You should have repeat testing sooner if:

COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING

Until age 75, you should have screening for colorectal cancer on a regular basis. If you are age 76 or older, you should ask your doctor if you should receive screening. Several tests are available for colorectal cancer screening:

You may need a colonoscopy more often if you have risk factors for colon cancer, including:

DENTAL EXAM

DIABETES SCREENING

You should be screened for diabetes every 3 years.

You may be tested more often if you have other risk factors for diabetes, such as:

EYE EXAM

HEARING TEST

IMMUNIZATIONS

Commonly needed vaccines include:

INFECTIOUS DISEASE SCREENING

Screening for hepatitis C:

Screening for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV):

Depending on your lifestyle and medical history, you may need to be screened for infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and other infections.

LUNG CANCER SCREENING

You should have an annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) if:

OSTEOPOROSIS SCREENING

PHYSICAL EXAMS

All adults should visit their provider from time to time, even if they are healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:

In addition:

During the exam, your provider will ask questions about:

SKIN EXAM

References

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Adult immunization schedule by age. Recommendations for ages 19 years or older, United States, 2023. www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html. Updated April 27, 2023. Accessed July 30, 2023.

American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Clinical statement: comprehensive adult medical eye examination PPP 2020. www.aao.org/education/preferred-practice-pattern/comprehensive-adult-medical-eye-evaluation-ppp. Updated November 2020. Accessed July 30, 2023.

American Cancer Society website. Breast cancer early detection and diagnosis: American Cancer Society recommendations for the early detection of breast cancer. www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/american-cancer-society-recommendations-for-the-early-detection-of-breast-cancer.html. Updated January 14, 2022. Accessed July 30, 2023.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) website. FAQ178: Mammography and other screening tests for breast problems. www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/gynecologic-problems/mammography-and-other-screening-tests-for-breast-problems. Updated July 2022. Accessed July 30, 2023.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. FAQ163: Cervical cancer. www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/gynecologic-problems/cervical-cancer. Updated April 2021. Accessed July 30, 2023.

American Dental Association website. Your top 9 questions about going to the dentist -- answered! www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/questions-about-going-to-the-dentist. Accessed July 30, 2023.

Atkins D, Barton M. The periodic health examination. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 12.

Brown HL, Warner JJ, Gianos E, et al; American Heart Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Promoting risk identification and reduction of cardiovascular disease in women through collaboration with obstetricians and gynecologists: a presidential advisory from the American Heart Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Circulation. 2018;137(24):e843-e852. PMID: 29748185 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29748185/.

ElSayed NA, Aleppo G, Aroda VR, American Diabetes Association, et al. Professional Practice Committee. 2. Classification and diagnosis of diabetes: standards of medical care in diabetes-2023. Diabetes Care. 2023;46(Suppl 1):S19-S30. PMID: 36507649. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36507649/.

Grundy SM, Stone NJ, Bailey AL, et al. 2018 AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA Guideline on the management of blood cholesterol: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines [published correction appears in J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019 Jun 25;73(24):3237-3241]. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019;73(24):e285-e350. PMID: 30423393 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30423393/.

Meschia JF, Bushnell C, Boden-Albala B; American Heart Association Stroke Council; et al. Guidelines for the primary prevention of stroke: a statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2014;45(12):3754-3832. PMID: 25355838 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25355838/.

Mora S, Libby P, Ridker PM. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Bhatt DL, Solomon SD, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 25.

National Cancer Institute website. Breast cancer screening (PDQ) - health professional version. www.cancer.gov/types/breast/hp/breast-screening-pdq. Updated June 7, 2023. Accessed July 30, 2023.

Studenski S, Van Swearingen J. Falls. In: Fillit HM, Rockwood K, Young J, eds. Brocklehurst's Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 103.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. A and B recommendations. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation-topics/uspstf-a-and-b-recommendations. Accessed July 30, 2023.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Falls prevention in community-dwelling older adults: interventions. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/falls-prevention-in-older-adults-interventions. Published April 17, 2018. Accessed July 30, 2023.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement. Breast cancer: medication use to reduce risk. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/breast-cancer-medications-for-risk-reduction. Updated September 3, 2019. Accessed July 30, 2023.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement. Breast cancer: screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/breast-cancer-screening. Updated January 11, 2016. Accessed July 30, 2023.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement. Cervical cancer: screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/cervical-cancer-screening. Updated August 21, 2018. Accessed July 30, 2023.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement. Colorectal cancer: screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/colorectal-cancer-screening. Updated May 18, 2021. Accessed July 30, 2023.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement. Hepatitis C virus infection in adolescents and adults: screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/hepatitis-c-screening. Published March 2, 2020. Accessed July 30, 2023.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection: screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/human-immunodeficiency-virus-hiv-infection-screening. Published June 11, 2019. Accessed July 30, 2023.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Hypertension in adults: screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/hypertension-in-adults-screening. Published April 27, 2021. Accessed July 30, 2023.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement: Lung cancer: screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/lung-cancer-screening. Updated March 9, 2021. Accessed July 30, 2023.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement. Osteoporosis to prevent fractures: screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/osteoporosis-screening. Updated June 26, 2018. Accessed July 30, 2023. 

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement. Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes: screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/screening-for-prediabetes-and-type-2-diabetes. Updated August 24, 2021. Accessed July 30, 2023.

US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement. Skin cancer: screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/skin-cancer-screening. Updated April 18, 2023. Accessed July 30, 2023.

Whelton PK, Carey RM, Mancia G, Kreutz R, Bundy JD, Williams B. Harmonization of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association and European Society of Cardiology/European Society of Hypertension Blood Pressure/Hypertension Guidelines: comparisons, reflections, and recommendations. Circulation. 2022;146:868-877. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.054602. PMID 35950927. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35950927/.


Review Date: 8/1/2023
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 04/18/2023. Internal review and update on 08/01/23.
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