Can we agree that this year we will be as healthy as possible? I see so much out there about wanting to excel in career goals but any dreams or ambitions you have will be just that much more difficult to accomplish if you don’t have good health.
Of course I understand that we can’t control it all. Sometimes, we just get sick. It happens. We develop health conditions that happen for seemingly no reason but I do think that there’s a lot we can do to be preventative and that includes going to the doctor. I get that sometimes it can feel like a nuisance or it can be de-prioritized on that to-do list of yours but if you just spend a few minutes today to call all of your doctors and make your appointments, I promise you that it will bring peace of mind! It’s one of the top ways I think we can all start to get organized this year.
You might be wondering how often you need to see certain doctors, so here is a thorough breakdown of which doctors to see and how often. Of course this will all vary depending on your age, current health, and family history but I think it’s a good guideline to work from!
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion suggests seeing your Primary Care Physician (PCP) one time a year.
What your PCP will check: Blood pressure, heart rate, heart/lung/head/neck/abdominal exam, lab tests.
This is the time you should notify your doctor of any changes in lifestyle, work, stress levels, sleep patterns, dietary changes, mental health – basically giving a life audit is helpful! Giving your doctor more information is better than less. You may not think your inability to fall asleep or your loss of appetite here and there may mean much but those could be symptoms to a larger conversation. Let your doctor determine if something is significant or not.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states you should make a visit one time a year.
What your gynecologist will check: Cancer screening, pap smear, pelvic exam, STI/STDs.
A pap smear will show abnormal cells and signs of cervical cancer and a pelvic exam will check for skin cancers, diseases of the vulva, STDs and other forms of cancer.
Let your doctor know if you have any vaginal pain, changes in your menstrual cycle, or abnormal bleeding (especially if too heavy).
There is no recommended rule for how often to go in but if you have a history of skin cancer, develop skin issues and the like, it’s advised to check yourself regularly at least once a year.
What your dermatologist will check: Moles, chronic condition like acne or psoriasis, reddish scaly patches, skin discoloration
Even if you don’t have an abnormal mole or anything quite noticeable to you that doesn’t mean you don’t have to go to the dermatologist. When you schedule yearly visits, the dermatologist is able to pick up any changes in your skin and they are trained to pick up subtleties that we may not see ourselves.
The American Optometric Association recommends making a vision appointment every two years.
What your optometrist will check: evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases.
You may not think your vision has changed much but doing a proper vision test can determine that! I had 20/20 vision for the longest time but when I recently went to the optometrist I realized my vision has changed!
The American Dental Association suggests that it is relative on how often each individual needs to go to the dentist but once or twice a year is a good standard to work from.
What your dentist will check: Cavities, gum disease, teeth cleaning, oral cancer, x-rays
Regular dental exams are crucial in preventing decaying oral health. It’s also important to note that there are actually some symptoms that can show up in your mouth first and it could be linked to a more systemic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and diabetes.
There is no guideline on how often to seek our a therapist but if you have thoughts of harming yourself or experience even mild anxiety, speaking to a professional will help.
I hope the above guidelines helped you! Now go schedule those appointments 🙂