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Your guide to preventative health screenings you should get in your 60s

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Preventative care and screenings are important steps you can take for your health at any age. When you reach your 60s, health experts have some additional recommendations to help reduce your risk of illness and detect diseases early for the best odds of successful treatment.

CBS News HealthWatch has compiled a series of guides to help you know which preventative screenings should be on your list as you move through the years from your 20s to your 60s.

"It's never too late," says Dr. Céline Gounder, a CBS News medical contributor and editor-at-large for public health at KFF Health. "If you're still a smoker, quit smoking. If you don't exercise at all, even just walking a little bit every day, taking the stairs instead of the elevator — very small things can really make a big difference for your health."

So what should people age 60+ have on their preventative checklist? Here is a look at the guidelines experts recommend for people at average risk:

Vaccines for your 60s

There are several additional vaccines worth considering for people in their 60s, including:

Pneumococcal vaccine — At age 65 or older, a pneumococcal disease vaccine can help prevent illness from pneumonia, meningitis and blood infections, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

RSV vaccine — The FDA approved a new vaccine in 2023 to protect older adults from respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, which can cause severe illness. "Adults aged 60 years or older should talk to their healthcare provider about getting a single dose of RSV vaccine," the CDC advises. 

You should also make sure you're up-to-date on vaccines to protect yourself from three illness which pose more serious health threats to people in older age groups:

Dr. Robert M. Biernbaum, chief medical officer for WellNow Urgent Care, says the flu vaccine isn't something people think about as a preventative measure, but is a top recommendation. "Flu vaccine is recommended from the ages of 6 months to 80-plus years," he says.

New screenings to consider in your 60s

Osteoporosis — Women are at higher risk for osteoporosis than men, so the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends women 65 and older schedule a bone density test, a painless X-ray-like scan to see if you're at higher risk for fractures. "If you're a man over age 65 and you're concerned about your bone strength, talk with your doctor or nurse," the office adds.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm — In men aged 65 to 75 who have ever smoked, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, or USPSTF, an independent panel of national experts, recommends a one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) with ultrasonography. Women can discuss with their doctor if they need to be screened due to family history. 

Screenings and tests to continue into your 60s

In addition to new recommendations for this age, it's also important to keep up with recurring tests and screenings you began in your 40s and 50s, including:

  • Dermatological exams to check for skin cancer
  • Comprehensive eye and vision exams
  • Cholesterol, blood pressure and other heart health checks
  • Diabetes screening
  • Mental health check-ins
  • Screenings for intimate partner violence, unhealthy alcohol and drug use as well as tobacco use, as recommended by the USPSTF
  • Oral exams and dental cleanings
  • Colorectal cancer screenings
  • Lung cancer screenings for some with a history of smoking
  • HIV and other STI tests, depending on risk level, including screening for hepatitis B and C and whether someone is at risk for HIV and should be on HIV-prevention drug, PrEP.
  • Cervical cancer screenings and pelvic exams for women
  • Mammograms for women
  • Testicular exams and prostate cancer screenings for men

This guide is based on guidelines from health organizations and experts for people at average risk. Age and frequency of screenings may differ for individuals based on family history and personal risk factors. This does not take the place of your personal doctor's recommendations for your health.

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