Life is busy and it’s easy to put your health last on your priority list. That is, until something goes wrong. But if you look after yourself and have health checks regularly, you should be able to pick up on and fix any issues before they become a big problem. In other words, prevention is far better than cure.
To get hands on with your health care, take a look below at some of the checks you should be getting regularly:
Eyesight tends to deteriorate with age, so if you are under the age of 40 and haven’t had any problems with your eyes and have no risk of glaucoma then you don’t need to worry too much about this one. However, if you are over 40 or if you are at increased risk of glaucoma then you should have a check up with your optometrist every year or two. Risk factors include: high blood pressure, family history, diabetes, previous eye injury or steroid use.
Not too many people enjoy going to the dentist, but putting off your regular checks can lead to serious tooth decay and gum disease, meaning your eventual visit will be so much worse than a simple check up. Head to the dentist every six months for a quick check up and clean.
You should always keep an eye on your skin as a matter of regular self-care. If you see any changes in your skin, such as colour, itchiness or changes to shape and texture of moles, you should see your doctor immediately. If there are no changes, it is still a good idea to have a professional check up every year or two.
You don’t have to wait until there is a problem to go and see your chiropractor. If you are fit and healthy and lead an active life, you are quite likely to benefit from a preventative check up with your chiropractor. Sports, keeping fit and the general running around in a stressful life can throw your body out of whack without you even realising it. Having a quick check up with your chiropractor can ensure that your body continues to function at it’s best, and will stop any niggles before they turn into a problem that prevents you from getting on with things.
Although life may get busy and making an appointment to see the doctor when you aren’t even sick may be the last thing on your mind, it is a really good idea to keep a recurring appointment in your diary to have a general health check at least once a year. If you have family history of disease or health issues you may need to make the appointments more often, but this is something you can work out with your general practitioner on a case-by-case basis.
Health checks you have with your GP should include:
Blood tests: Cholesterol and triglyceride levels will help you understand the health of your heart, and insulin levels will give an indication of diabetes.
Blood pressure: You should have your blood pressure checked at least every two years, or more often if you have a family history of stroke, high blood pressure or heart disease.
Women: Pap smears and breast examinations can pick up cancer in the early stages, which is vitally important for successful treatment. Women should also be checked for STI’s, especially chlamydia, as left undetected this could affect a woman’s fertility. If you are considering falling pregnant any time soon you should also book a check up with your GP.
Men: If you are over 50 it is recommended you have an annual digital prostate examination, or for anyone with a family history of cancer this should be done from the time you turn 40.
Flu shots: Coming into winter, it is a good time to consider whether you need a flu shot. Anyone over 65 is recommended to get one every year, as well as people with chronic health conditions – such as asthma or diabetes – and pregnant women.
A GP will also look at your weight and may ask questions about your lifestyle in general. This will include how much exercise you do and how much alcohol you consume as well as your family medical history.
While it is fantastic to be hands on with your health check ups and to stay on top of regular appointments, it is not a replacement to ongoing self-care. Women need to do self breast examinations regularly, everyone needs to keep up a healthy diet and exercise regime and also be aware of mental health. If you are feeling particularly down, anxious or have noticed changes to your sleeping or eating habits, it might be a good idea to speak to your GP about what you are experiencing.