We all know that prevention is the best treatment. However, the vast majority of busy (and not very busy) people still find it difficult to set aside some time for a regular health maintenance checkup. Why? If you appear to be healthy, and your schedule is quite tight – it just seems unnecessary. But if you miss a periodic health screening, the consequences might be rather unpleasant.
Here are some of the most common reasons why people neglect their health:
The first reason: being busy. Daily planning as such is not an easy task, let alone finding time within your tight working schedule or household chores for a doctor’s visit. But, unfortunately, even if we do have time, we often underestimate the importance of periodic checkups. While always making time to take our little ones to a pediatrician, we easily forget about ourselves.
The second reason: absence of a «vital» need. Routine checkups as such are not urgent. Therefore, as a rule, they are not associated with something important and hence are constantly postponed. As a matter of fact, lack of prevention and early diagnosis can lead to grave consequences. Quite often by the time the symptoms become evident and prompt us to seek Medical advice, the disease is already advanced and difficult to cure.
The third reason: financial. It is always easier to prevent than to cure. All health care systems in the world are focused at preventive medicine. Apart from medical reasons, it also has profound economic justification. Periodic health assessment includes all basic screening tests and examinations, which are at the same time the most cost-effective ones.
Of course, nowadays we are fully responsible for our health. We are not obliged to undergo compulsory medical examinations, standing in long lines in order to make chest x-ray and blood tests. The level and pace of life has increased, and hence the level of self-consciousness of a modern person must also change.
How to Make your Health Care Routine Most Effective?
Modern medical centers offer an individual approach towards each patient, scheduling an appointment at your convenience. Tests will be performed quickly, and the results made available in the shortest terms and in a suitable format (via phone or e-mail). Individual recommendations and elaboration of a personalized treatment and prevention programs, which will take into account your lifestyle and other factors, is the minimum you will be offered.
Choosing a Doctor
As a rule, every woman has an ob-gyn and every man – an urologist, with whom they can discuss the most delicate aspects of their private lives. However, if you are suffering from headaches and high blood pressure you should address a general practitioner (family doctor or primary care physician). The doctor will not only conduct a physical exam and perform age-specific screening tests, but if necessary, will refer you to a relevant specialist.
If you do not know your blood pressure numbers, cholesterol and blood glucose levels, then how will you know that you are not at risk of diabetes, heart attack or stroke?
Schedule a medical checkup every 2 years, if:
• you are younger than 40 years of age, feel healthy and have normal blood pressure (120/80 mmHg);
• your total blood cholesterol is less than 5.2 mmol/L or 200 mg/dL, you have low LDL («bad» cholesterol) and normal HDL («good» cholesterol);
• blood glucose level is less than 5.5 mmol/L (100 mg/dL), and body mass index (BMI) does not exceed 25.
If you have a family history of cancer, heart diseases, strokes, diabetes and abnormal results of mammogram, breast ultrasound or Pap smear, or you have ovarian cysts (for women) or abnormal results of prostate ultrasound and urethral smear (for men) – it is a serious warning sign, which means that you have to make an appointment with the doctor as soon as possible. If you are over 40 years of age, you should undergo a routine medical checkup every year.