In your 30s and 40’s? Here are some health checks you should consider
28 January 2021
Your 30s and 40s can be the busiest years of your life. You’re expected to advance your career and meet the demands of your home life – all part of that work-life balance. Unfortunately, your health is often the first thing that gets put on the backburner.
But, it’s time to bring your wellbeing back to the top of the priorities list.
Mental and physical fitness helps us stay on top of whatever life throws at us and although it can be hard to devote the time, a little careful planning can really make a big difference to how you feel.
It’s said that ‘prevention is always better than cure’, so it could be time for a health check. Health checks are simple tests or check-ups designed to catch conditions at an early stage when there are no symptoms.
What health checks should you be considering?
Your GP should be your first stop to find out which health checks are a good idea for your age and stage of life. However, below we have gathered the health checks that are generally important for people in their 30s and 40s:
Blood pressure check
Your GP will want to regularly check your blood pressure from the age of 18. That’s because you can have high blood pressure and not know it, and untreated high blood pressure can cause many other health concerns. It’s a simple check that only takes a couple of minutes and should be checked at least every two years.
In Australia, we have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. While you might not notice too much sun damage in your 30s or 40s, it’s a good idea to become familiar with how your skin normally looks and to see a doctor if you notice a new spot or change in a mole. This is especially important if you have a fair complexion, or if you’ve had skin cancers in the past.
You should be guided by your GP or a dermatologist for how often you have a skin check. Finding a melanoma early can save your life.
Mental health check
In Australia, it’s estimated 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, with three million Aussies currently living with depression or anxiety. So if you’re suffering with your mental health, rest assured; you’re not alone.
If you’re trying to improve your own mental health, or support somebody else with mental health issues, Head to Health provides links to trusted Australian resources and treatment options.
You should seek help if you have concerns about your mental health, or if you’ve noticed changes in the way you’re thinking or feeling.
Your GP will conduct the initial assessment and can provide you with a referral to see a psychologist for up to six Medicare rebatable sessions. Once those six sessions are up, you can head back to your GP to ask for a referral for more rebatable sessions, with a maximum of 10 each calendar year.
Cardiovascular risk test
Tests to check your risk of cardiovascular disease (which includes conditions such as heart attack and stroke) should be done from age 35 in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults. Other Australians should start having these tests from the age of 45.
A cardiovascular risk assessment could include a:
- Blood pressure check;
- Cholesterol blood test; and
- Electrocardiogram (ECG).
For this check, it depends on your risk, but it should be looked at at least every two years.
Diabetes risk test
Type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia. Tests to check whether you're at risk of developing type 2 diabetes should be started in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at the age of 18 years and at age 40 for other Australians.
Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool is a questionnaire that estimates your risk of getting type 2 diabetes in the next five years.
Maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, blood pressure and many different cancers. Checks to make sure you are in a healthy weight range should be started at age 18. Your GP can help you with this check and should be ticked off every 1-2 years, depending on your risk.
You’d be surprised at how many people put off having an eye test. Once you hit your 40s you are more likely to have problems with your eyes, so stop delaying!
One of the most important tests is to check for glaucoma. This is a condition that causes increased pressure inside the eyes and becomes more of a risk as you get older. You won’t notice any symptoms until your eyesight has been significantly affected, so it’s worth having a simple test to check for it and start treatment if needed. Other conditions, such as long or short-sightedness, can also be picked up during an eye test.
Your doctor or optometrist will let you know how frequently you should be tested, as it depends on your overall risk.
Dental check up
Regular dental check-ups, which are recommended throughout life, have wide-ranging benefits. That’s because conditions that affect your teeth and mouth (such as gum disease and tooth decay) can affect your overall health as well as your smile. Don’t forget to see your dentist at least once a year, but ideally every six months.
Kidney health check
Kidney disease is known as a silent disease, as there are often no symptoms until it is advanced. That’s why a kidney health check is recommended for people thought to be at increased risk. Ask your doctor if this applies to you.
A kidney health check has three components: a blood pressure check, a urine test and a blood test, which should be checked every 1 – 2 years by your GP.
Gender specific health checks
There are also a variety of gender health checks recommended including, but not limited to;
- Self-check of testicles for men
- Cervical cancer screening test for women
- Self-check of breasts for women
- Mammogram for women
- Bone mineral density test for women
Your GP or health specialist can guide you on how often these checks should be done, based on your family history or initial results.
Is it time for a health insurance check-up?
Everyone’s health insurance needs are different. To help you understand what level of cover is best suited to you, get in touch with the Suncorp Health Insurance team today to learn more about the cover options.
- 5 ways taking health insurance now can save you money
- 4 common health and fitness services you could be claiming on Extras cover
- Common health insurance terms explained
Article adapted from The Check Up.
Please note: This is not an all-inclusive list; there may be other health checks that are recommended based on your age and individual circumstances. The tips throughout this article serve as broad information and should not replace any advice you have been given by your medical practitioner. Please make an appointment with your GP to receive advice on the health checks you will need based on your personal circumstances.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at increased risk of many diseases, and so are often recommended to start health checks at an earlier age. You may also be recommended to have the tests or checks more often. Please see your GP for personalised advice.
Suncorp Health Insurance is issued by nib health funds limited ABN 83 000 124 381 (nib), a registered private health insurer, and is marketed by Platform CoVentures ABN 82 626 829 623 (PC), a Suncorp Group company. PC is an authorised agent of nib and receives commission from nib. nib is not a part of the Suncorp Group. Read the policy booklet before buying this insurance.