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Monday, 15 September 2014

The Impotance Of Going For Regular Check-ups

If you're reading this then CONGRATULATIONS, you survived winter and all the yucky flu bugs that were going around! However, just becuase it's summer it doesn't mean you can stop looking after yoursefl! Apart from all the viruses floating around waiting to infect you everyday you also have to worry about your lifestyle and of course your genetics.

If you have diabetes in your family for example, then maybe you should think twice about consuming that second packet of fudge? Better yet - maybe you should go test your glucose levels to see just how prone you are to getting diabetes too!

When you were little, your parents probably made sure you had an annual checkup with your doctor. But as you've grown older, you may have gotten out of this habit.

Health professionals stress that these regular exams are important to help identify risk factors and problems before they become serious. If diseases are caught early, treatments are usually much more effective. Ultimately, having a regular doctor's visit will help you live a long and healthy life.

Depending on your age, sex, and family medical history, a checkup with your doctor may include:
Blood, urine, vision, and hearing tests to evaluate your overall health
Assessments of your blood pressure, cholesterol level, and weight
A discussion about your diet and exercise habits and any tobacco, drug, and alcohol use
Immunizations and booster shots
Screenings to assess your risk of developing certain diseases, including diabetes (if you already have high blood pressure or high cholesterol) and cancer
Depending on your age and sexual lifestyle, testing for STDs and possibly HIV
Starting at age 50, or younger if you have a family history, a screening test for colorectal cancer
A discussion about depression and stress to evaluate your mental health

For men, in addition to checking weight, high blood pressure, and other basics, your doctor's visit may specifically include:
Starting at age 50,or younger if you have a family history,a rectal exam to check for abnormal bumps in the prostate and a prostate specific antigen blood test to screen for prostate cancer
Between the ages of 65 and 75 if you have ever smoked cigarettes, an abdominal exam to check for an enlargement in your aorta; an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a weakness in the lining of the aorta (a large blood vessel in your chest and abdomen), can develop with age and become a life-threatening problem.

For women, in addition to checking weight, high blood pressure, and other basics, your doctor's visit may specifically include:
A test for cervical cancer, called a Pap smear, every one to three years
A clinical breast exam to check for any unusual lumps or bumps in your breasts
Starting at age 40 (or younger if you have a strong family history for breast cancer), a breast  cancer screening with a mammogram every one to two years
Starting at age 65, a referral for a bone density test to screen for osteoporosis, the disease that causes brittle, fragile bones and typically affects older women; women with more than one risk factor for osteoporosis may start earlier.

It's important for you to play an active role to get the most out of your doctor's visit. Before your exam, review and update your family health history, be prepared to ask if you're due for any general screenings or vaccinations, and come up with a list of questions if you have particular health concerns.

During your actual doctor's visit, don't be shy about getting your questions answered. Also, if your doctor gives you advice about specific health issues, don't hesitate to take notes. Time is often limited during these exams, but by coming prepared you’re sure to get the most out of your checkup.
Taken from Everyday Health

Ok so hopefully that covers WHY you should be going for regular check-ups. Now, how do you find a good doctor to go to? As you can imagine I have seen my fair share of doctors and I can tell you that there are some really useless ones out there. By useless I don't mean unqualified, I am more referring to their treatment approach. 

Doctors are taught everything they need to know and then it is up to them to keep up to date with the latest advancements in medicine. It is also up to them to decide how to use the different skills they have been taught. There are many different approaches to treating a specific problem and it is up to your doctor AND YOU to decide on the best way forward. You can be aggressive, e.g surgery, passive, e.g try improve diet, or perhaps a mixture of the two.

When choosing a good doctor I believe that you you need to find someone who is on the same page as you, for example if you are into homeopathic remedies then you need to find a doctor who can keep this is mind when deciding on your treatment plan. I have looked after myself my whole life and the first thing I judge a doctor on is whether or not they are willing to listen to me. I know my body so well and if a doctor doesn't take my opinion into consideration then I move swiftly on.

RecoMed was founded in 2013 with a mission of improving access to healthcare, RecoMed is a free service that allows patients to find nearby doctors, dentists and other health professionals. Patients can also rate and recommend practitioners that they visit. By improving visibility and transparency RecoMed helps patients to get better and faster care.

RecoMed is modeled after a company called ZocDoc in the US, which is currently worth about $1.6 billion USD. Millions of people use it to find doctors, learn about their practice and qualifications, and book appointments online. While the majority of patients in SA are not as aware of the value of internet resources, Recomed hopes that they will be able to shift the healthcare landscape toward transparency and DIY online research.

There are McDreamy's and McSteamy's out there (trust me on this), one of my pet peeves are people who 'hate doctors'. Doctors SAVE LIVES and deserve all the respect in the world, yes there are some bad ones out there but there are also some pretty incredible ones out there too. 

Hopefully, RecoMed will be useful in helping you find the gems out there and avoiding the not so great 'professionals' that give doctors a bad name. Give them a try HERE

One last note before you go, PLEASE don't judge doctors by the amount of time you spend in a waiting room! They are not fast food services where speed is an important factor. If anything, the amount of time you spend in a waiting room should be a positive reflection on the doctor as it shows that they are taking their time to give each patient the attention they need. In my case, I see specialists and wait a MINIMUM of two hours before I am seen. It doesn't bother me at all becasue I know that when I was in ICU and desperately needed to see my Dr, he was always there for me. So when he is running late for my check-up I don't mind because I know he is where he is needed and I am the healthy person who is lucky enough to be sitting in the waiting room and not dying in an ICU bed. 

You aren't called a 'patient' for nothing - BE patient =)

Keep healthy everyone.

1 comment :

  1. Do you promise that my doctor will look that good ;-)


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