Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Today’s guest blogger, Lydia Davies, reminds us of how true this quote is with the importance of yearly exams. Note: this post isn’t written to scare you but to spur you into making a necessary appointment with your preferred health practitioner(s).
Do you ever feel a little twinge of guilt on your kid’s regular visits to the pediatrician? Stressing the importance of regular checkups, screenings and other aspects of preventive care to your children is made significantly harder when you haven’t gotten it together to visit the doctor in years.
While very young children do need to visit the doctor more often than adults, adhering to a regular schedule of screenings and physical exams becomes more important as you age. Don’t shortchange yourself or your family by skimping on your medical care.
If you’re approaching middle age, your most common interaction with your doctor is likely to be at an annual physical exam and occasional booster-vaccination appointments. Routine adult physical exams involve:
- Blood work to screen for anemia, diabetes and thyroid issues and to measure your white blood cell, platelet and cholesterol concentrations.
- Routine tests for tuberculosis, high blood pressure and nervous system problems.
- Hearing, vision and reflex testing, the importance of which increases with age.
- Standard vaccinations like the once-a-decade tetanus booster, sex-specific shots like the HPV vaccine for sexually-active women, and job-specific protection like vaccines against rabies or anthrax.
Screenings for Women
You might want to stay young forever, but the world has other plans. As you age, you’ll need different things from your routine adult checkup.
If you’re female, your annual gynecological exam will evolve over time to include a mammogram every year after you turn 40, a Pap smear to check for certain sexually-transmitted illnesses as long as you remain sexually active, and screenings for cervical and uterine cancers.
When you consider that detecting breast or uterine tumors early greatly increases your chances of surviving them, spending a dull afternoon in your doctor’s waiting room seems a bit more bearable.
Not every medical test has to be gendered. Your doctor should screen you for depression every year after you turn 25. It’s a non-invasive procedure, involving simple questions that you can answer off the top of your head. Since you’re probably too busy to notice the warning signs of depression or act on them once you do, these screenings may be your best defense against despair.
As you age, blood-pressure and heart-health screenings take on outsized importance. Even doctors who quibble with the efficacy of regular adult checkups admit that these office visits pinpoint high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems with extraordinary accuracy. If you have a family history of heart problems, you may need a blood-pressure screening every few months.
Screenings for Men
Like breast cancer in women, prostate and colon cancers are major health risks for older men. Getting annual prostate exams and colonoscopies every year after you turn 40 will increase your life expectancy by several years and thrill your doctor, for whom convincing patients of the utility of certain invasive procedures is akin to pulling teeth for dentists.
There’s little argument within the medical community that regular checkups involving screenings for high blood pressure, cancers, and other serious diseases have extended countless lives. If you’re worried about learning the truth about the nagging abdominal pains or shortness of breath you’ve been experiencing recently, remember that proactive physical exams are the best defense against the unknown. Preventive care really is the best medicine.
About the Author
Lydia Davies is a guest writer for http://www.secureinsurancequotes.com where you can find out more about Life Insurance Rates.
Have you been procrastinating in seeing your doc for a yearly exam? Has Lydia helped you put “schedule doc appointment” on your list of things to do?