Are you blessed with relatively good health? Do you feel that you don't use the services of a doctor very often and would probably only seek their help when you are seriously ill? This is a very common way of thinking. Why should you go to the doctor if you are not sick?
In reality, preventive health care is an important way to prevent illness and its devastating effects. While the common cold and flu don't necessarily do you too much harm, other illnesses do. Many things that can harm us or seriously affect our health don't show up with dramatic symptoms until things get out of control. Good care can prevent diseases from escalating into life-threatening problems.
You may remember taking your child to the doctor for checkups during the first two years of life. These visits were to help your baby stay on track with his development and to intervene when something was wrong. The frequency of the visits made health care easy and prevention a safe bet. After your child was two years old, these visits were reduced to "as needed."
Although you probably don't need to see your doctor as often as a newborn, regular annual visits, as well as visits for important events as your child ages, are valuable. An annual exam can alert your doctor to changes in your body and its systems that you may not notice on a day-to-day basis. A "baseline" of your blood work and a look at how you are feeling physically can help prevent disease and/or provide early intervention if something comes up.
Some common annual exams are:
● Complete blood count
● Pap smear and other gynecological exams.
● Breast exams
● Prostate exams
● Birthmark and skin exams
● Hearing and vision tests
Not as common - but equally important - exams as you age are:
● Memory and cognitive functions
● Cancer screenings
● STD and HIV screenings
● Diabetes screenings.
If you haven't thought much about your health because you've been doing so well, keep it up by getting a routine checkup or special screening to maintain your health and prevent possible illnesses.
Routine health and wellness screenings are a smart and responsible way to maintain your health and save money. Contact your doctor today and ask what they suggest for your age and risk factors.
Maritza Y. Baez, MD, FAAFP
Buffalo - 1091 Main St., Ste. 301