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Which Doctors Should People Over 50 See?

Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2024
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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3 Comments
Doctor and patient going over medical records

It’s likely that you’ve heard the old English proverb, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It means that eating healthy foods works towards keeping folks healthy. While apples are indeed good for you, unfortunately eating fruit is not a miracle cure for health conditions. It’s up to individuals to be proactive for their health and act by visiting qualified professionals in the industry. Know that doctors are our valuable partners in health. Not only do they serve as important community educators, but they assist individuals in monitoring, securing, and maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. Thus, seeing a doctor is a vital part of a person’s health routine. Because age related health issues may arise, it is important that people over 50 see their doctors regularly. Here are some doctors that people over 50 should consider seeing:

Primary Care Physician

Primary care docs perform wellness checks as well as treat common ailments. This doctor will check your pulse, blood pressure, oversee vaccinations, order periodic bloodwork, and perform other vital medical screenings. For continuity of care, those over 50 should see their PCP for annual checkups or more often to address specific health concerns. These doctors often get to know their patients and are generally familiar with patient health records, lifestyles, and more. Though primary care physicians provide care and treat many ailments, they refer patients to specialists for more in-depth testing and care when needed.

Geriatrician

A geriatric doctor is a primary care physician who specializes in treating older adults, generally patients aged 65 to 100. They often possess in-depth knowledge of senior care. Not only do they provide integrative care, but they can diagnose a variety of health conditions, particularly related to the aging process. This may include medical disorders such as dementia, gait disorders, type 2 diabetes, and more. These important senior-care doctors collaborate with other health care professionals to provide the ultimate in treatment for older patients.

Dermatologist

These medical providers specialize in skin, hair, and nail health. These doctors also treat diseases of the mucus membrane. Some are also surgeons. It is important for people over 50 to see a dermatologist yearly for health screenings and to work toward the prevention of skin cancer. Dermatologists are trained to identify and treat skin conditions or lesions, and even spot precancerous or cancerous moles and other skin problems. Like most cancer types, skin cancer incidences increase with age, thus it’s vital for most people over 50 to be diligent about getting their skin checked annually and issues treated.

Obstetrician/Gynecologist

This doctor oversees women’s reproductive health. Even women past childbearing years can benefit from yearly visits for routine OB-GYN examinations. OB-GYNs are also very knowledgeable on issues related to menopause and beyond. As women age, the risk of cancers such as cervical, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar increase. Thus, a pelvic exam and Pap smear are important, along with HPV testing if needed. An annual breast check and regularly scheduled mammogram as prescribed by the doctor should also be routine parts of health care for women over 50. Similarly, an osteoporosis screening and hormone profile may be ordered to gain a more complete health picture.

Urologists

Starting at age 50, men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctor as part of a general checkup. Note that the American Urological Association recommends prostate cancer screening every two years (or more) for men ages 55 to 69. Men facing medical issues such as difficulties with urination, kidney stones, or prostate issues should be referred to a urologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating urinary system disorders and functions.

Gastroenterologist

These medical professionals deal with the prevention of diseases largely related to the gastrointestinal tract and liver. Most people over age 50, regardless of gender, should get a colonoscopy at least once every 10 years. This exam looks for changes in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Generally, healthy patients are given the all-clear to go another 10 years before another colonoscopy procedure is needed. Gastroenterologists can perform endoscopic procedures. This allows doctors to examine the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. These specialists treat many digestive related conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, gallbladder disease, GERD, Celiac disease, and more.

Eye doctor

Most adults should get a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years as recommended by their PCP. However, some people visit their eye doctor more often to treat conditions related to vision. Eye examinations may be performed by an optometrist, ophthalmologist, or an orthoptist. Unlike optometrists and opticians, ophthalmologists are Doctors of Medicine (MD) or Doctors of Osteopathy (DO). During a comprehensive eye examination, the doctor will typically test visual acuity, pupil function, extraocular muscle motility, and more. It’s important to get regular eye checks since many eye diseases are asymptomatic. Additionally, as people age, vision related issues may arise. To maintain healthy eyesight, do visit this all-important professional.

Dentist

Dentists are professionally trained health care providers. DMD refers to Doctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry. DDS refers to Doctor of Dental Surgery. Thus, dentists undergo extensive medical training. Proper dental cleanings and yearly examinations are essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. A patient will generally get dental x-rays as part of preventative medicine. This can help reduce or halt incidences of tooth decay, gum disease, and other problems. In addition to preventative care, dentists provide restorative and emergency dental services. They also assess other health issues related to oral health to reduce the risk of serious conditions like heart disease and stroke.

Where to begin?

Not sure where to start? Begin by visiting a primary care physician. Per Healthline, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine, “Those with primary care reported better patient experience and overall healthcare access compared to those who didn’t see a primary care physician regularly.”

Can I afford the care?

Note that Medicare is available for people 65 and over and covers many doctor visits. Those not covered by a health plan should talk to a health care provider who may offer options such as discounts or payment plans. Or one may visit a free or low-cost health clinic in their neighborhood. Click this link: HealthCare.gov to find low-cost health care in your community.

In summary

The above is a sampling of some medical professionals recommended for those age 50 and over. There are long and short-term benefits of seeing medical professionals for routine visits. Fundamentally, their services can be lifesaving as early intervention of many medical conditions is key.

Found this article helpful? Click here to read our related article on what to bring to your health appointment.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a medical guide or substitute for professional medical advice.

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NeilRK
NeilRK
1 month ago

I would add a Chiropractor holistic doctor to list. A holistic doctor will identify and heal ailments an MD could not.

Giuseppe Feeney
1 month ago

I was recommended this website by my cousin I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble You are amazing Thanks

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