Medical Musts for the New year

Hand putting check mark with green marker on excellent in Health Status evaluation form.

We hear over and over how important it is we see our primary physician annually. With so many health tests it may be hard spotting the right one for you. Here are some tips to help you talk with your doctor and make the most of your yearly visit!

As we age we shrink in size-this is normal. However, fractures can occur from loss of bone density and a height loss of 2 inches or more is cause for worry. If this is the case ask your doctor to check for osteoporosis. Keeping track of blood pressure is another must, high blood pressure can lead to kidney disease, heart failure and stroke. Both exercise and diet can help with this, if needed, medication can be prescribed. Because blood pressure can sneak up on us,so it’s best to get routine well checks.

For men in particular, over the age of 40, prostate cancer screenings should be a topic of discussion along with testicular lump evaluations. This type of cancer is mostly found in men age 20-40. Self exams can be performed to search for painless lumps, if any are found, you should see a doctor. Women should focus in the areas of birth control (if currently taking), mammograms and cervical cancer preventions by having a pap test every 3 years.

For both men and women, sleep can have health effects on us as well-too little leads to weight gain and mood swings. On the flip side, a good night’s rest can enhance memory and boosts our immune systems overall. If you suffer from sever snoring (sleep apnea) consider having a sleep study done. If you are considered a senior citizen (65+) you qualify for a “Welcome to Medicare” with your physician. You can review your medical and social history and discuss preventative services if needed.

At any age, if you are seeing your physician for the first time, bring medical records with you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or have difficult conversations if they come up. Establishing a good relationship with your doctor is key.