An Ounce of Prevention

Americans have many reasons for not scheduling routine exams and, of course, there is a laundry list of explanations commonly used to excuse unhealthy behaviors and habits. For some, scheduling an appointment seems unnecessary either because they feel well or their health is not a priority; while others put off making an appointment because they fear a diagnosis. Sadly, neglecting our health can be costly or even deadly. Many medical conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer, may be ‘silent’ until there is a complication. With silent diseases, the concern is that complications typically appear in the later stages of disease when they are more difficult to treat.

The good news is - an ounce of prevention and a proactive approach to your personal health can prevent or postpone certain serious illnesses and conditions. The bad news is that many individuals who are aware that a silent killer could surface at any time still do not make the conscious decision to stop smoking, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, pay attention to mental health and stay up to date on routine health screenings and exams.

While the month of May is a time to celebrate Mother’s Day, it too is a time to focus on women’s health and to encourage all the women in our lives – mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and spouses – to visit their healthcare provider to receive necessary screenings and to schedule their yearly checkup. During the month of May, National Women’s Health Month, everyone is encouraged to help raise awareness and promote the message that regular checkups are vital to early detection.

Be sure and discuss all your health concerns as well as your family history of disease with your doctor. Information is vital in helping your doctor determine which tests are right for you, when you should have them and how often. While there are guidelines in place regarding screenings tests for women, it is important to follow the advice of your health care provider. For women, tests may include blood pressure, bone mineral density screening for osteoporosis, cervical cancer, diabetes screening, mammograms, blood tests, colonoscopies, mental and physical health checkups and well as a list of other screenings based on the needs of each individual. Each women’s health history and risks are unique and guidelines and timing of screenings are based on many factors; you and your doctor can work together to personalize your screening needs.

If you need to schedule a routine exam, have symptoms that are concerning or if you need to talk to a physician.