The best way to start a new health plan is to get a complete physical examination from your family physician.
Just like a car needs routine maintenance, so does your body. What is your most valuable asset? I hope you answered your health. Things and money comes and goes. You only have one chance to go around. Your body needs routine preventative care. Parents take their children in for routine check ups, but often neglect their own healthcare needs. Here is an overview of some major preventative health screening tests for adults:
Gender specific. Women should get a routine Pap smear to rule out cervical cancer. Mammograms beginning at age 40 to rule out breast cancer. If there is breast cancer in the family, then start at age 30. For men age 50 and over get your annual PSA along with a digital rectal exam to rule out prostate cancer. If there is family history of prostate cancer then start at 40.
Immunizations. Tetanus/pertussis booster every 10 years. Gardisal for HPV is a series of 3 vaccinations up to the age of 26. Annual Influenza if your high risk. Shingles vaccine over age 60. And Pneumonia vaccine over age 65.
Tobacco cessation. Thousands of ways and scientifically documented reasons to quit. What else can be said? You either want to quit or not. You either want to be healthy or unhealthy. Your choice.
Hypertension. Also known as the silent killer. Why? No symptoms other than a BP reading. BP machines at your local pharmacy are not a substitute for going to your Doctor. For accuracy, go for your annual examination.
Colorectal cancer screening. Valuable screening for those over age 50. How? Flexible sigmoidoscopy, fecal occult blood test, barium enema, and colonoscopy.
Obesity. This screening is done at every office visit. How? Simple. By standing on the scale. Your body mass index and metabolic rate may also be read at the same time.
Dyslipidemia. A cholesterol panel is a valuable screening test for high cholesterol, another silent killer and a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
These tests will give you knowledge of what you need to look out for. Every thing I mentioned is a foundation for most of the acute, chronic and life threatening illnesses that are commonly treated. The more you take a pro-active approach to your most valuable asset, your health, the better quality of life you will live and longevity will be yours.
Trisha M. Pacenti RN, BSN