In your 50s

Do you know what needs to be done to take control of your health?

Now is the time to really enjoy life and focus on positive health choice.

These are guidelines only. Your doctor or nurse will personalize the timing of each test to meet your specific healthcare needs. Scan this list below to review the recommended health screenings and immunizations. Need to schedule a screening, click this phone number to call: 573-629-3500. More information about each item is listed below.


  • Full checkup — Some women prefer to have the annual checkup with their OB-GYN and others prefer their Primary Care Provider. In your 50s, you may also want to consider transitioning to an Internist if you have multiple health conditions. Internal medicine physicians typically treat adults and specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and management of disease and chronic conditions. If you are in need of a primary care provider or an internist, contact: 573-629-3440 and for OB-GYN services, please contact 573-629-3500.
  • Sleep habits — Discuss at your annual exam. Your provider may offer a sleep study to review your sleep habits. It can help diagnose your sleep issues.
  • 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).
  • Hepatitis C (HCV) screening — Get this one-time screening if you were born between 1945 and 1965.
  • Controlling Weight — This is the age when most people start gaining weight. Watch this weight gain carefully, and fight back with healthier eating and exercise. Being overweight puts you at high risk for developing a number of diseases -- and studies show that weight loss can improve your odds.


Talk with your primary care provider about your heart health concerns or contact a cardiologist for a heart screening.

  • Blood pressure test — At least every two years. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke by damaging and weakening your brain's blood vessels, causing them to narrow, rupture or leak. If you have high blood pressure, now is the time to contact a cardiologist by calling 573-629-3300.
  • Cholesterol panel — Total, LDL, HDL and triglycerides; discuss with your doctor or nurse. High cholesterol can lead to hardening of the arteries and even a chance of heart attack. Contact a cardiologist if you are concerned your cholesterol: 573-629-3300.


Supplements — Discuss with your doctor, do you need Calcium or Vitamin D supplements? Here are some of the risk factors for osteoporosis are: Age 30+, family history, previous broken bones, rheumatoid arthritis and current smoker. You may not have any symptoms or pain.


Blood glucose or A1c test — Frequent or ongoing high blood sugar can cause damage to your nerves, blood vessels, and organs. It can also lead to other serious conditions. People with type 1 diabetes are prone to a build-up of acids in the blood called ketoacidosis. If you have type 2 diabetes or if you’re at risk for it, extremely high blood sugar can lead to a potentially deadly condition in which your body can’t process sugar. It's called hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS). You’ll pee more often at first, and then less often later on, but your urine may become dark and you could get severely dehydrated. If you are concerned about diabetes, contact a primary care provider by calling: 573-629-3440. It's important to treat symptoms of high blood sugar right away to help prevent complications.


  • Breast self-exam — Become familiar with your breasts so you can identify any changes and discuss with your doctor or nurse.
  • Clinical breast exam — Yearly.
  • Mammogram — Every 1-2 years. Official recommendations vary. Discuss the schedule that is right for you with your doctor or nurse. Early detection is key when diagnosing and treating breast cancer. Discuss the schedule that is right for you with your doctor or nurse. To schedule a mammogram or a 3D mammogram, call 573-248-5688.


Menopause is a normal change in a woman’s life when her period stops. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for 12 months in a row. This often happens between 45–55 years of age. Menopause happens because the woman's ovary stops producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Talk with your OB/GYN about menopause to be prepared for the changes and how it may effect your lifestyle afterwards.To schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN, call 573-629-3500.

  • 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.
  • Contraception — Discuss with your OB-GYN about your options for birth control.


Discuss with your doctor or nurse.


Fecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy — Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it. Your primary care provider or internist may recommend you see a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. Don't wait...Early detection of digestive organ diseases can improve your treatment options and quality of life. If you are having trouble with digestive health, call 573-629-3400.


  • Comprehensive eye exam — Several factors may determine how frequently you need an eye exam, including your age, health and risk of developing eye problems. General guidelines are as follows: Every 1-2 years. 
  • Hearing test — Every 3 years. Hearing loss can be congenital, or present at birth, or can develop suddenly at any age due to medical conditions or certain medications. Generally, hearing loss is associated with aging and develops gradually later in life. If you have ringing in your ear, hearing loss, buzzing or vertigo. To schedule an appointment, call 573-629-3301.


Skin exam — Monthly self-exam of skin and moles and as part of a routine full checkup with your doctor or nurse. To schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon to review skin conditions, call 573-629-3500.


  • Dental cleaning and exam — Every 6 months; discuss with your dentist.
  • Quit Smoking — If you smoke, your increase your risk for multiple diseases. If you need help to quit, contact the James E. Cary Cancer Center at 573-406-5858.


  • Seasonal influenza vaccine — Yearly. The flu shot is one of the easiest ways to help prevent the flu.
  • Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster vaccine — Every 10 years.
  • Pneumococcal vaccine — One time only. You can also reduce your risk of getting pneumonia by: getting a flu shot, washing your hands frequently, not smoking and keeping healthy habits - eating healthy, exercising and getting plenty of rest.
  • 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.