Sunday, December 17, 2006

Yearly medical tests...eeeek!

Why do you think we all wait until something is going wrong with us before we go in for a basic checkup? I think it is the fear of the unknown, or we are scared that something might be wrong. We all have little tell tale signs that things may not be right physically, but it is easier to dismiss them or just ignore them completely.

Remember the brake on the car scenario.You are driving the car and you approach a stop sign and you hear the brakes squeal. You have such a busy stressful week that you decide to ignore it and you turn up the volume on the radio. This goes on for a few weeks, and then one day you pull up to the same stop sign and you press the brakes and they grind and you feel the metal on metal. You have just taken a one hundred dollare brake job and turned it into a eight hundred dollare total brake job. Moral of the story is to listen, and to react while it is a mole hill, rather than waiting until it is a mountain.

I thought I would list some things we all need to pay attention to, and then make a yearly basic set of things everyone over 40 should be getting done on an annual basis.

Headaches more than a few times a week, cold hands and cold feet, light headedness,severe constipation, urinary tract infections, chronic gas and bloating. Mood swings, trouble sleeping, pain in the chest, numbness in the extremities, cloudy or blurred vision, memory problems, erectile and libido problems for men, hormonal changes for women, night time frequency of urination. Depression or anxiety, redness in the face that does not go away, rapid weight gain or rapid weight loss,changes in the skin,color changes to moles, loss of taste, soreness that will not go away. Breast tenderness in women, groin pain, or stomach pain, blood in the stool, severe body odor, hearing problems, joint pain.

Now I know this list looks long, but our bodies are actually well tuned machines that will talk to us when something is not correct, but we have to do something and we have to listen.

The following are a few things that everyone should get done, test wise every year. Basically to get a starting point, and to see what has changed from one year to the next. Men: prostate exam, blood panel, blood pressure, cholesterol and homocysteine levels, sugar panel. Women: blood panel, hormone tests, blood pressure, cholesterol and homocysteine levels, thyroid. After forty five, both men and women need to receive a colonoscopy every two to three years, and of course women need to be screened for breast and ovarian and cervix cancer yearly.

I know how much we all hate going to the Doctors, believe me, I have to be taken in kicking and screaming, and sedated, but we need to go. So many major problems can be prevented if early diagnoses is practiced, and many can be a death sentence if we do not know what is going on under the surface.

You know, every year we get our smog test before we register our car, and we stand back and wait for the pass or fail light to come across the screen. We do it because we are told we have to so we can register the car for another year. Well, we need to do these yearly medical tests so we can sleep a little easier over the next year, and hopefully catch things before they are un catchable.

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