Disease Prevention: Get to Know Your Doctor

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Sure, we don’t want to get sick and need a doctor. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see your doctor regularly. Along with that apple, you should be including routine physical examinations as a part of your overall health care. Doctors are not the enemy. Doctors are often your first defense against diseases and other chronic health conditions.

Doctors do not always forecast doom and gloom. When you develop a good relationship with a doctor you trust, that doctor will be your confidant and will guide you with a health care plan for disease prevention, not just treatment of illnesses.

Running to a doctor only when something goes wrong is not good health care. Your doctor wants to get to know you and your lifestyle. He or she wants to help you maintain your good health, not fix you up after the fact. Many diseases can be prevented, and, when caught early, can be treated and managed.

Prevent Disease: See Your Doctor Yearly

Many of the signs and symptoms of chronic disease go unheeded because we don’?t get regular a physical. When a physical exam is performed once a year, your doctor can monitor changes in your body that need to be addressed. Many problems can be caught in the early stages if you have yearly physical exams.

A physical exam usually entails:

  • Assessing height and weight to determine BMI (body mass index)
  • Assessing blood pressure
  • Asking about physical discomforts
  • Blood work for cholesterol, vitamin D, diabetes, liver functioning (LFTs), and thyroid
  • Urinalysis
  • Breast exam and pap smear (women)
  • Prostate exam (men)

When the blood work comes back from the lab, your doctor may ask you to come back in to review the results. The doctor will discuss your results and if necessary suggest health plan for reducing your risk of chronic disease, which may include diet and exercise.

Weight is another issue which affects your risk for disease. None of us want to hear that we are overweight, but your doctor is doing you a favor by putting your weight into proper prospective for you. Your doctor will tell you the hard truth—extra weight is endangering your life.?

Other medical professionals you should involve in your overall health care plan for disease prevention include:

Dentist: Unhealthy gums have been linked to health problems in the body. Gum disease can affect blood sugar. If you are diabetic, gum disease can increase complications of diabetes.

Nutritionist: If you want to eat better but don?t know where to begin, a nutritionist can help. Some insurance plans allow for visits to these professionals. Gain the knowledge you need to improve your health.

Have you been to the doctor lately? If not, this is your wake up call. Don’?t sit and worry about what may happen; get proactive by getting a physical exam. Decide today to protect your life and change your lifestyle ? with your doctor’s help.

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