Medical Awareness

Wednesday morning, I had several check UPS with different doctors throughout the area. They were all routine, nothing specific to worry about, but I still wanted to make sure everything was copacetic. I’ve got a physical coming up in the next week, and even though I feel fine now that I’m in my fifties, I’m acutely aware of the different things that I could be facing. Cancer was never an issue in my family until my dad received a brain tumor diagnosis many years ago. It was through dad’s diagnosis that I had my eyes opened to a world of cancer. Both sides of my family had a rich history of heart disease and strokes, so I thought that would be what would do him in and probably me as well. It’s only been in the last five years that I’ve paid substantial attention to what my body is telling me.

All the medical experts tell you to get routine checkups. They’re not telling you this because they necessarily want the money, although that is a good incentive for them. They’re telling you this because as we all age, we face different issues. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid issues, weight management, depression, and anxiety plague us throughout our lifetime. The key is to pay attention to what our body is telling us and get an evaluation.

I dread going to the doctor. I prefer going to the dentist instead of going to my doctor, and that should tell you something. She’s not a bad doctor at all. I hate going to get checked out. What if I hear the news that I don’t want to hear? I tend to worry a lot, so my worrying may not solve anything, and knowledge may be power but sometimes that knowledge makes you worry so much that you add additional stress. Some of you will have no concept of what that means. Many of you may be the type to get the information and go forward with it, but I’m the type that processes things verbally and talk it out to move forward.

And since I worked in healthcare for several years, I know how some of the doctors are, which makes it even worse for me to want to go. One of my favorite things to do now when I get a telephone call is to ask what I’m going to get for that phone call because many physicians are paid for surveys that they answer over the phone. They have been given incentives from drug reps and other medical, pharmaceutical companies to promote the products, and while they have the skills and incentives, it sets a standard that has never left my mind. That standard is because many of the doctors are in it for the wrong reasons. This statement isn’t true of all doctors. Many of them are good people and in it for the right reasons. That’s why doing your homework is so critical.

Since so many family members have had medical issues, I make it a point to watch for any symptoms that might trigger warning bells in my head. For example, last year, I had a lot of shaking in my right hand. I recalled my father had one of those symptoms before his cancer diagnosis. I made a point of getting a referral to a neurologist. Fortunately, they didn’t find anything wrong, but if nothing else, it gave me a sense of peace knowing that I was worried for nothing.

What does it matter if you go to the doctor or not? I can’t answer that question for you. What I can tell you is that doctors are humans. They make mistakes and have issues like the rest of us. But, they are equipped with the knowledge to help prevent specific ailments we might face. Here are a few other reasons to get routine checkups.

The benefits of regular checkups include:

  • Reduce your risk of getting sick
  • Detect potentially life-threatening health conditions or diseases early
  • Increase chances for treatment and cure
  • Limit the risk of complications by closely monitoring existing conditions
  • Increase lifespan and improve health
  • Reduce healthcare costs over time by avoiding costly medical services
  • Form a good partnership with the doctor so treatment can be more efficient
  • Get updated on new medical information or technologies that are available

If you’ve had bad experiences with doctors, you aren’t alone. But there are good physicians out there who want to help others stay healthy and well. Yes, insurance can be an issue, but there are programs in place that are helping people get the care they need. I hope you can remain healthy and active for many years and live a full and productive life. Don’t take good health for granted. When we lose good standing with our health, we wish we had taken better care of ourselves. Stay healthy and well. Have a great weekend, everyone.

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