If you were to ask someone, “What was the reason for your last visit
to the doctor?” you might hear, “I had a bad headache,”
“I broke a bone,” or “my
stomach was bothering me.” What you’re less likely to hear is “nothing
Many people think of a physician as the person you go to when you’re
sick or hurt, but we think it’s time to change that idea. Even the
healthiest person can get a life-threatening disease at any point in their
life, so it’s important to schedule regular checkups and screenings
even if you feel fine.
Early Detection and Intervention is the Key to Good Health
While lifestyle changes like not smoking, exercising regularly, and eating
a diet high in fruits and vegetables can have some effect on your likelihood
of getting a particular disease, genetics also play a major role.
Did you know that
prostate cancer can be found in men well before they begin exhibiting symptoms?
Two of the earliest forms of detection for prostate cancer include:
PSA Test: If a man has abnormal levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in his
blood, it could be an indicator of prostate cancer.
Digital Rectal Exam: If your prostate gland feels abnormal, inflamed, or lumpy, your doctor
will suggest further, more conclusive testing.
If further testing determines that you have prostate
cancer, detecting the cancer early will likely give you a much better survival rate.
imaging test most often used to detect
breast cancer, are suggested annually for all women above age 40. If a woman has a history
of breast cancer in their family, it’s suggested they begin annual
screenings as early as 35.
Women are also encouraged to give themselves self-exams throughout the
year, in addition to their annual mammogram. During a monthly self-exam,
women should check for lumps or irregularities in their breast tissue
and report any changes to their health care provider.
Though there’s still no single conclusive test that can tell you
your risk of heart disease or heart attack, knowing the results of several
screening tests can give you a very good idea of how healthy your
Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is known to greatly increase your risk of heart disease
and stroke. You can have high blood pressure without any physical symptoms,
so it’s so important to have your blood pressure tested regularly.
Fasting Lipoprotein Profile: Commonly known as a cholesterol test, a fasting lipoprotein profile will
measure your total cholesterol levels — HDL (good cholesterol) and
LDL (bad cholesterol). Similar to high blood pressure, higher levels of
cholesterol have been known to increase a person’s risk for heart
disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Weight: Body weight plays a major role in your overall health, but being overweight
can really take a toll on your heart. In addition to knowing your weight,
you should also know your BMI (body mass index). Being obese or having
a high BMI puts you at an increased risk for heart disease and several
other heart problems.
Blood Glucose Levels: The higher your blood glucose level is, the greater your risk of developing
an insulin resistance. Those with high blood glucose levels are also more
likely to develop prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Good Health is Built on Everyday Choices
Do you reach for soda or water when you’re thirsty? Do you take the
stairs or elevator? Do you choose a salad for lunch or pizza?
Don’t get us wrong, the occasional slice of pizza or can of soda
isn’t going to have catastrophic effects on your health, but making
poor choices every day will have a negative impact. The best way to prevent
diseases and ailments is to nourish your body by making healthy choices a habit.
Tips for Healthy Daily Living
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
- Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and protein.
- Keep moving throughout the day, not just while you’re at the gym.
- Stretch at least once a day.
- Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night.
- Reduce your stress with exercise, meditation, and/or yoga.
- Practice gratitude and positive thinking.
The Importance of a Healthy Doctor-Patient Relationship
“Do you smoke?” “How much do you have to drink in a week?”
“Are you sexually active?” These are questions many people
are in no rush to answer, but their responses are often much more important
than people realize.
Studies show that the more
comfortable you are with your doctor and the more you trust him/her, the more likely you are to answer these
Furthermore, the right doctor can just make a difficult situation easier.
When patients feel like their doctor truly cares about them as a person,
they’re more at ease and optimistic about the future. Orthopedic
surgeon Dr. Charley Gates says he takes care of all patients “the
way I would take care of my mom or my brother.”