Q. Does an apple a day keep the doctor away? A: It does if your aim is good.
As part of my “Quest to be the Best at 50,” I recently took a health-risk appraisal through my insurance company. I sailed through all the questions about my exercise, eating and sleeping habits but when I got to the questions about blood pressure, cholesterol and other lab values, I was in trouble. They wanted values and the date of the last time they were checked. All I could do was check the box that said I have no idea and cannot remember the last time they were checked. By the time I got to the result sections, I landed squarely in the moderate risk category for heart disease simply because I had no idea what those lab values were.
Yikes! Because I am no longer employed by Southeastern Health, but work through contract with Healogics, I had not kept up with my numbers as before when I participated in a wellness program. I decided right then and there to make an appointment for a physical.
When it comes to our health and wellness, not knowing what is going on is really dangerous. Even if we are working out, eating right and feeling great, there are things behind the scenes that can lead to problems. Many chronic diseases and conditions are found and monitored by having annual physical examinations, including labs and any other age-appropriate medical testing. Here is a short list of exams and tests that are crucial to keep your health on track age 40 and above.
n Physical exam: Most people should have a full physical exam with a licensed practitioner every one to five years. Once you get a baseline examination and establish a provider to manage your care, he or she will decide with what frequency you need to visit. This is when you will get blood tests performed as well as other lab testing.
n Blood pressure: Blood pressure is any easy thing to monitor. You can have it checked at a pharmacy, at home, or in the doctor’s office. If your blood pressure is above 130/85 on a consistent basis, call you doctor.
n Cholesterol: High cholesterol can lead to heart disease. Have your cholesterol levels checked a minimum of every two years. If you have diabetes, heart disease or other medical conditions, it needs to be checked more frequently.
n Dental exams: Poor dental hygiene can have hurt your health. It is best to have regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months.
This is just a short list of exams that are essential to keep your health on track. There are many others based on your gender and specific age. The most important thing to do is to get established with a health care provider to address your well and sick needs. They will give you a complete baseline physical and help you better manage your health and wellness. There are tons of talented providers here in Robeson County who are looking for new patients. Find one close to your home and get an appointment because what you don’t know can hurt you.
Kathy Hansen has more than 20 years of experience in the health and fitness field and had a wonderful check-up recently with her pal, Physician Assistant Bob Hollingsworth, at Southeastern Medical Clinic Red Springs. She can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.