Ageing can be daunting. As you enter a new decade of your life, it's natural to wonder what the future has in store for you - and your health. One effective method for dealing with this uncertainty is to quantify it into actionable steps that provide you with a clear path to follow.
Once you've activated your AIA Vitality membership, the AIA Vitality programme will reward you for completing simple health-related activities like nutrition assessments and flu vaccinations. In addition to these regular check-ups, there are several milestone health checks that come with ageing. Here are the tests that should be on your radar for every stage of your life.
Your 20s are a great time to start building positive health habits. There are several tests you should have done annually - including BMI measurement, blood pressure and cholesterol - that can earn you points with AIA Vitality. In addition, you should also consider:
- Conducting monthly skin tests. New Zealand has the highest incidence rate of melanoma in the world, so being sun smart is important. Never forgo a hat or sunscreen when spending time outdoors and ensure that you're checking your skin for abnormalities once a month. If you notice a mole that appears to have changed shape or colour, see a GP for further advice. Undertake the annual skin check in the AIA Vitality app and you'll receive 1,000 points.
Your 30s are a time when you can build and expand on the routines that you've already established. As well as the tests for your 20s, now is a good time to start considering:
Mental health screening. While physical health tests receive a lot of focus in the mainstream, it's equally important to stay on top of your mental wellbeing. One in five people will struggle with a mental health illness in their lifetimes. If you're concerned about common issues like depression, anxiety or substance abuse - talk to a doctor about creating a mental health plan.
Thyroid testing. A thyroid disorder (under or over functioning of the thyroid gland) affects at least 10 percent of Kiwis - with women more likely than men to be affected. Treatment options differ according to the type of disorder, but most thyroid issues can be managed effectively with medicine. Get your thyroid checked at 30, then get tested every five years.
As you enter your 40s, your health-needs change again. Now is the time to consider getting the following tests:
Blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes presents most often in adults over 45 and can severely impact your lifestyle. You're particularly at risk if you have a family history of diabetes or are overweight. While there's currently no cure for Type 2 diabetes, the disease can be managed with diet and medication. Early detection is crucial to establishing a successful treatment plan.
Breast cancer screening. For women without a history of breast cancer in the family, your 40s are a good time to start scheduling regular mammograms. Time to Screen NZ offers free testing nation-wide for women 45-69. One in eight women will experience breast cancer in their lifetime, so it's important to get checked annually. And if you log your screening with the app, you'll receive 1,000 AIA Vitality points.
As your age increases, so too does your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Regular testing will help to increase your likelihood of staying healthy and active in later life, so look into:
Prostate testing. For men with no family history of prostate cancer, it's recommended that you start undergoing prostate exams in your 50s. If you do have a family history, it's wise to start screening earlier. Talk to your doctor about how often you should be tested.
Get regular eye tests. To make sure that your vision isn't degrading (and earn 1,000 AIA Vitality points for your efforts), and that any sight aids you wear are still effective. Regular eye tests can also help you to detect diseases, like glaucoma and cataracts, in their early stages - preventing further loss of vision.
Many physical tests in your 60s are aimed at ensuring that your health doesn't deteriorate to the extent that it will impact your day to day life. At around this age, you should:
Bowel cancer screening. Men and women in their 60s should be tested regularly for bowel cancer - as early detection is critical to treatment. The National Bowel Screening Programme offers free testing for Kiwis aged between 60-74.
Consider getting a bone-density test. (Known as a DEXA scan) to determine whether you're suffering from osteoporosis. A loss of bone-density means that you are more prone to fractures and breaks, which can be debilitating in later life.
AIA Vitality Program
AIA Vitality, a science-backed health and wellbeing programme, gives you the knowledge, tools and motivation to get healthier, with discounts, benefits and weekly rewards from our partners for staying active. To join, all you need to do is take up an eligible health or life insurance policy with AIA New Zealand.