As a 40-plus woman, I believe it’s really important to visit my health care practitioner once a year for a health check-up.
So — do I procrastinate about it? Yes!
Why is it that we put off something that is relatively quick and inexpensive and can give us peace of mind about our health for another year?
If you’re like me and you eat well, exercise and generally look after yourself, you don’t often get sick so there’s no reason to go to the doctor. Time slips by and you forget to make that yearly appointment.
Or, maybe there are other reasons why we avoid going in for regular checkups. Are we scared of the results? Or are we hesitant to instigate changes to our lifestyle that may become necessary as a result of a thorough routine check-up?
Or, are we just ‘too busy’ to make the appointment?
It’s only an hour out of your day, once a year, and many diseases can be picked up or prevented with early detection, so it’s worth making the time.
Some of the diseases that are often picked up during routine check-ups are diabetes, breast lumps, elevated blood pressure or cholesterol, and skin cancers, to name few.
Did you know?
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women, with 1 in 9 women diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85. Apart from doing your breast self-examination at home, you can ask your health practitioner to do a pap smear and breast check for you while you’re at your routine check-up. May as well get it all done in one go.
- About 20% of Australian adults have high blood pressure, which can lead to strokes and heart disease, but only half of them have had it diagnosed. Blood pressure is one of the first things a doctor will tick off during a check-up.
- About 3% of adults are diabetic and, again, only half are aware they have the condition. It doesn’t take a doctor long to test the sugar levels in your urine, and also test for blood or protein that might suggest a bladder or kidney problem.
- In 2007, the World Health Organisation found that 67.4% of adults are overweight or obese, which leads to problems like heart disease, stoke, diabetes, fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, and many more. If you’re very overweight you’re no doubt aware of it, but having some of the side effects confirmed by a health practitioner may give you a bit of a wake up call.
When you call to make your appointment, book a long appointment so you can discuss your medical history and have those extras done.
At a regular check-up you can expect a GP to:
- Check your blood pressure
- Take a urine sample to assess your bladder and kidney health and diabetes risk
- Order a blood test to check your cholesterol level
- Perform a pap smear for women and a prostate check for men
- Check for moles, examine your eyes and ears and assess your BMI
- Assess your family history for health issues that may affect you
If I have health issues I’ll visit a naturopath, homeopath or herbalist, but I also have a healthy respect for my local GP, especially when it comes to these sorts of health checks.
I’m not putting it off anymore, as I believe we are all ultimately responsible for our own health and wellbeing.