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Pocket Guide to Staying Healthy at 50+. Photographs show two people exercising and a doctor taking a patient's blood pressure.


Introduction—What's in This Guide
1. Your Doctors and Nurses—What To Ask Them and What To Tell Them
2. Staying Healthy—How To Take Charge of Your Health
    Choosing a Healthy Lifestyle
        Reducing Your Risk for Heart Disease
        Watching Your Weight
        Eating Right
        Keeping Active
        Preventing Skin Cancer
        Preventing Injury
        Taking Medicines Correctly
    Making Smart Choices About Sexual and Reproductive Health
        Sexually Transmitted Diseases
        Planning a Family
        Menopause and Beyond
    Overcoming Depression
    Getting Help for Smoking and Alcohol or Drug Abuse
        Alcohol or Drug Abuse
3. Checkups, Tests, and Shots—Which Ones You Need and When To Get Them
    Dental, Hearing, and Vision Care
        Teeth and Gums
    Tests To Find Diseases or Conditions Early
        High Blood Pressure
        High Cholesterol
    Tests and Exams To Find Cancers
        Colorectal Cancer
        Breast Cancer
        Cervical Cancer
        Prostate Cancer
        Oral Cancer
    Shots To Prevent Diseases
        Tetanus-diphtheria Shot
        Flu Shots
        Pneumonia Shot
        Hepatitis B Shots
4. More Resources for Good Health—Where To Get More Information
5. Prevention Charts—How To Keep Track of Your Health Care
    Basic Information
    Checkups and Tests Record
    Cancer Tests Tracker
    Shots Chart
    Medicine Minder

This guide was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over.

AHRQ is the lead Federal agency charged with supporting research designed to improve the quality of health care, reduce its cost, and broaden access to essential services.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention convened by AHRQ, systematically reviews the evidence of effectiveness of clinical preventive services—screening tests, immunizations, counseling, and chemoprevention (for example, aspirin to prevent heart disease)—and makes recommendations for their use in primary health care. This guide is based on USPSTF recommendations from 1996 to fall, 2003.

Put Prevention Into Practice (PPIP), a national program sponsored by AHRQ, develops resources for clinicians, patients, and office systems to increase the delivery of USPSTF-recommended preventive services in the primary care setting.

To order copies of this guide, call the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 or E-mail at

For more information about AARP, call 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277) or visit

The appearance of service marks or logos should not be construed as an endorsement of any company or organization—or its services—that has been granted permission to reprint this publication.

The USPSTF continuously updates its recommendations on clinical preventive services and makes them available on the AHRQ Web site. PPIP tools are revised regularly to correspond with USPSTF updates and are also available on the AHRQ Web site.

For the most current recommendations and updates, visit the preventive services section of the AHRQ Web site at Or, for immediate notification of new and updated recommendations from the current USPSTF and new resources from the PPIP program, join the AHRQ Prevention LISTSERV®. To join the LISTSERV®, go to