5 health tests and vaccines most people should get as they age

5 tests and drugs to question as you age

Doctor Giving Senior Female Patient Injection Concentrating

See other side for 5 tests and drugs you probably don’t need.

Blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes tests: Ask your doctor how often.

A flu shot each year.

Other vaccines: A shingles shot when you turn 60; two pneumonia shots, a year apart, after you are 65, or sooner if your doctor recommends it. Ask when you need a booster shot for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).

A bone density test: For women, at age 65. For younger women or men over 70, ask about your risk for bone loss and if you need the test sooner.

Cancer screenings: Mammogram (women age 50 to 74), colon cancer test (men and women age 50 to 75), CT scan for lung cancer (men and women age 55 to 80 who have been heavy smokers). Ask if you are at high risk and should start these tests earlier.

Most people don’t need these tests and drugs, and they may do more harm than good. Ask your doctor what’s right for you.

Antibiotics for the common cold.

Vitamin D screening, unless you’re at high risk for vitamin D deficiency.

Imaging tests for lower-back pain, unless you have other symptoms, like weight loss you can’t explain or loss of feeling or strength in your legs.

Cancer screenings: Pap test (women over 65 don’t need them unless their previous Pap test results have been abnormal); PSA test (only men with risk factors, including a history of prostate cancer, need them).

Opioid pain drugs, only for severe pain, and only to manage pain that lasts a short time.

See other side for 5 health tests and vaccines most people should get.


This information is to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a  substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use this information at your own risk.

© 2017 Consumer Reports