If you think about when you were in your 20s (or if you’re in your 20s, you’re probably experiencing this now) you were most likely advised by a well-meaning older adult that it’s never too early to start planning for retirement. As a young adult, this seems almost strange. Do you really need to plan for 40 years from now? Well, you really should and you’ll thank your younger self if you do, even if it’s hard to see now. This attitude towards planning for the future shouldn’t just apply to your finances. You should approach your health in the same way. In fact, being mindful of your longterm health is the most important thing you could do.
Preventative medicine is a sometimes undervalued course of medical treatment that is offered by your family doctor. Many people think of their doctors as someone to go to when something is demonstrably wrong. You’re feeling sick or fatigued or you can just tell you’re not your normal self. In the case of the common cold, there isn’t much you can do. You get sick, when you get sick. But, if your doctor comes back with your test results and notifies you that you have diabetes, you may be shocked. How did this happen? If you had seen your doctor for your yearly wellness exam, the warning signs could have been caught much sooner and your diagnosis perhaps could have been avoided.
Preventative medicine can prolong your life and help you stay healthier for a larger portion of it. Few serious illnesses appear out of the blue. While there are no guarantees, early intervention often increases your chances of recovery or leading a healthier life if the disease can’t be cured. Here is why it’s so important to see your doctor regularly even if you aren’t necessarily feeling sick.
Doctor and patient relationship
More people need to understand the importance of the doctor and patient relationship. It’s really a two-way street. Studies show that patients become more invested in their own health when they have a good relationship with their doctors. They become more engaged and strive to understand more healthcare. Doctors are able to provide better care if the relationship is strong.
One of the underrecognized benefits of an annual wellness exam is your doctor can better assess changes in your health. When your doctor gets to know you and has the opportunity to note your status, comparisons can be made over time. Your doctor may be able to notice subtle changes since your last visit that may point towards the development of a condition before symptoms even begin to appear.
Most illnesses have early warning signs
It’s rare to be perfectly healthy one day and suddenly in the grips of a chronic illness the next. Symptoms may come on relatively quickly, but generally there are early warning signs that can be caught if you see your doctor with regularity. For example, one does not generally wake up with heart disease. It is the culmination of years of having high cholesterol or hypertension. Often these conditions are silent until they suddenly aren’t. It’s hard to feel high blood pressure and you certainly won’t feel high cholesterol. But, a routine wellness check will catch them and you can then be advised on how to reverse the issue. When things like high cholesterol are caught early enough, you can try natural lifestyle related solutions like diet and exercise to correct them. You may be able to avoid a life of taking maintenance medication.
Chronic illness is appearing at younger ages
Heart disease is often something thought of as an older person’s problem. That is mostly true, but the obesity epidemic has made heart disease more prevalent in younger people. However, the true health crisis for young people is the increase in diabetes diagnoses. Diabetes used to be something some people developed in middle age, but more commonly in older years. Over the past couple of decades, diabetes has become a global epidemic. Stats vary, but it’s believed that over 10% of Americans are living with diabetes. The early warning signs can be caught in a yearly wellness check. By evaluating your blood sugar levels, your doctor can warn you if you’re approaching prediabetes territory. From there, you can make the appropriate lifestyle changes to prevent it from becoming full diabetes.
The best way to lead a healthy life that is free of chronic illness for as long as possible is to see your doctor for regular wellness checks. Preventative medicine can help catch the indicators of the most common chronic illnesses before the diseases actually manifest. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Dr. Scarborough and the team at Family Life Medical are here to provide you with the care you need so you can lead a longer, healthier life.
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