There is a certain comfort that comes with the words “I feel fine.” The phrase provides a security blanket that assures us that if we are not feeling certain symptoms, we are “safe” for the time being. And if I am feeling fine, why do I need to see a doctor? I am not looking for trouble.
Truth be told, if you don’t see a doctor annually, you may not be looking for trouble, but trouble has a good chance of finding you.
We are taught as parents that one of our primary responsibilities is to make sure our children receive annual examinations and the necessary vaccinations. We spend thousands of dollars to take our pets to the vet and our cars to the dealership for regular oil changes and maintenance checks. And yet, as we get older, we forget that this proactive care is so essential when it comes to our own well-being.
What changes when we become adults? Well, for starters, many of us start leading much more sedentary lifestyles, with little to no exercise and absolutely zero regard to what we are eating between work and shuffling our kids to school, dance recitals, and soccer practice. The results are downright fearful with two-thirds of our population overweight, and one in every three people suffering with some form of diabetes. The onset of chronic illness such as heart disease and cancer runs rampant as our age increases, leading to 70% of all deaths. Snore at night? That heavy breathing should not be taken lightly—it may be a sign of sleep apnea, which could increase your chance of a stroke by 30%.
The fact is NOW MORE THAN EVER you need to see a doctor regularly, even when you think you are on top of your game. When was the last time you had an annual physical examination? For most of us, it was a lot longer than a year ago. And when we say a physical, we mean much more than blood work and an EKG. An adult patient deserves an adult evaluation. This includes:
- A comprehensive review of your family history, including parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins, to determine which ailments and illnesses run through your family tree.
- A lifestyle evaluation, reviewing your daily diet and level of activity. We examine everything from how many steps you take in a day to the number of fruits and vegetables you consume (or in most cases, don’t consume).
- An Epworth sleep evaluation to screen for sleep apnea and identify any needs for treatment.
- A mini mental evaluation which will explore the potential for memory loss and a Zung depression analysis, which will screen for any undiagnosed depression.
- An extensive review of your occupational history where we look at all of your work settings and determine the need for any specific health screenings as a result of your job(s). If we do locate a form of illness or cancer, it is far more treatable in its earlier stages.
- Lastly, a comprehensive exam while undressed which includes necessary rectal exams, prostate exams for men, and breast exams for women.
Is the annual exam a pleasant experience? I doubt it will ever top of the list of your favorite activities. However, by taking the time to have yourself checked out regularly, you can assure yourself that you will be able to continue to enjoy your favorite activities. From this exam, we put together a wellness program to make sure you feel fine for a long to come.
You don’t wait until your car breaks down before you get the oil changed. Why would you wait for your body to break down before you go to the doctor? By seeing a doctor on an annual basis, you not only add years to your life, but most importantly, you add life to your years.