It’s been 2 years since I nagged you to do this one thing.
I stress its importance to protect the integrity of your overall health. YES, it’s a pain, takes dedication and sometimes a smidge of research. BUT, it’s often free and will likely pay back health dividends worth 100 fold. What is it?
It’s check-up time! I can feel the sighs and eye rolls already.
Just to put my money where my mouth is, I will share that this very week I have a mammogram, dermatologist skin screening and functional medicine doctor check-up (and last week I did my ladies check-up/pap smear). With August such a slow month, it’s a great time to make it happen (and medical professionals often have openings).
I’m a big believer in preventing illness instead of treating disease. Translation: drop what you’re doing right now and schedule your 2018 medical appointments -- even if it means not reading the rest of this blog entry. It’s that important!
In my humble opinion, if our (U.S.) medical system emphasized and encouraged preventative practices, medical and insurance costs (and frustrations) would go way down.
I understand – the doctor’s office often feels like a factory. It’s not really all their fault! The way the system is now set up may mean spending time on the computer logging information, and/or the fee spending time with you minimal, hence why most interactions are under 15 minutes and some as little as 5 minutes. Let’s face it, not much can be covered in that short a period of time.
All the more reason to have a visit when you are feeling well rather than stressed and sick. I know it can be time consuming -- I spent 30 mins between hold time and dropped calls trying to make a gyno appt. I was not pleased. Don’t get mad, give your doctor feedback. It’s a business and they want to know how to please their “customers.” By doing so I found out that the office is switching phone systems and the problem will soon be alleviated. Woo hoo!
To make your appointment(s) most efficient and useful, arrive prepared. Bring a list of questions so you don’t forget something. Be open and truthful about your concerns -- they are there to address your medical concerns, not be your friend. If they have a portal or website, log on. It’s much easier than dialing the office and usually will give you quick access to both the doctor and your medical information. I email with my doctor whenever I need a recommendation or referral and she usually gets back to me very quickly.
It wouldn’t be my traditional doctor visit nag if I didn’t re-share the screening guidelines with you.
The National Institutes of Health and the Friends of the National Library of Medicine suggests the following guidelines:
- Blood Pressure: Have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years.
- Cholesterol Checks: Women should have their cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 45; men every 5 years beginning at 35. If you smoke, have diabetes, or if heart disease runs in your family, start having your cholesterol checked at age 20.
- Colorectal Cancer Tests: Have a test for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you.
- Depression: If you've felt "down," sad, or hopeless, and have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things for 2 weeks straight, talk to your doctor about whether he or she can screen you for depression.
- Diabetes Tests: Have a test to screen for diabetes if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Mammograms (Women): Have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years starting at age 40.
- Osteoporosis Tests (Women): Have a bone density test at age 65 to screen for osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). If you are between the ages of 60 and 64 and weigh 154 lbs. or less, talk to your doctor about whether you should be tested.
- Pap Smears (Women): Have a Pap smear every 1 to 3 years if you have been sexually active or are older than 21.
- Prostate Cancer Screening (Men): Talk to your doctor about the possible benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening if you are considering having a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test or digital rectal examination (DRE).
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be screened for sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV, and, for women, also Chlamydia.
Plus throw in skin, vision and hearing screening.
If you’re a data geek like me and want to dig into your numbers, check out my previous blog post about what your readings mean and how to impact change (whether it be around blood pressure, weight or cholesterol, among others).
The bottom line is to GO NOW. If something is stopping you, ask yourself this one very important question: would you rather prevent a medical issue and have one minor inconvenience, or wait until you have a full blown disease and need a surgical procedure or worse yet, long term treatment.
I leave it you, but if you want a 1:1 health consult to discuss it, you know how to find me!
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™
If you want a reviving reset by the ocean, we have just three spots left for our upcoming Montauk Retreat, 9/14-16. Join us!
P.S. There is a lovely nonprofit Self chec that will provide self-exam reminders for you, or a loved one.