Getting The Most of Your Yearly Physical
Some people hate going to doctors. Some people put off going until they are sick. Some people think you get sick by going to doctors!
Of course there is a little self-fulfilling prophecy going on there. You hate, you delay and then when you do go, there may be a better chance that you’re sick, and or of something that could have been prevented or minimized, is worse for having not sought out care sooner.
Me? I am all for preventative care, healthy eating, exercise, I take supplements, and avoid medication as much as possible. I’ll take a well trained massage therapist over a physical therapist. Further, there have been instances where eastern medicine has worked better for me than western.
All that said, I am a believer in the yearly physical, especially the blood/lab work.
So how to get the most out of your yearly exam?
- First thing is to get one! Even if you normally have a co-pay, they are generally free with insurance! (Although you may still have a co-pay for lab work)
- Don’t be discouraged if you have heard recent news about the mixed data on benefits of getting a physical on overall health outcomes. You are a specific individual, what you do or don’t do with the information will go a long way in determining if it is useful or not. For example, two people get a physical, both learn they are pre-diabetic. One modify’s their diet, the other doesn’t. The one that doesn’t make changes doesn’t benefit from the physical because he chooses to ignore what he learns, and then some study might say 50% of the time a physical won’t make a difference.
- Make a list of things bothering you, and your questions or concerns, before you go in. It is easy to forget what you want to go over once you’re in the office.
- Do some research but don’t tell your doctor you did research. Whether you’re going to a mechanic, buying a car, applying for job, or looking for the best restaurant (yelp anyone?), research generally is a good thing and helps you make better decisions and ask better questions.
- Be your own advocate. Doctor’s generally offer the most basic tests in an annual physical. And by test, I mostly mean labs from the blood they are already drawing. However, if you report symptoms that necessitate a specific test, they are more likely to do it. So for example, if you want a liver function test the Dr. may say no. If you say doc., my skin is very itchy despite no apparent rash, he/she may order a liver panel.
- Speaking of itching, no symptom is too small. If you notice or feel something different in your body, pipe up and tell your doctor.
- Especially if your doctor is not ordering the labs/ test you want, ask for referrals to the specialist that specializes in the area of your concern. If your voice is bugging you ask to see an ear nose and throat doctor. Going pee pee too frequently? a urologist, and so on.
- A yearly physical can give you a chance to reboot. Sometimes getting that physical forces you to face things you kind of already know but have been in denial about. Maybe this is the year seeing certain test results, like high blood sugar for example, and hearing from your doctor will sink in.
- Don’t be hypnotized by the white jacket or degree on the wall. Your doctor’s recommendations are just that. Recommendations. For the big stuff, get second opinions, and again do your research. Since this is the second time I mentioned research, try sticking to credible websites, and check sources and look for citations when things are stated as “fact”.
Oftentimes you may be able to find non-medicinal solutions to your issues. I certainly have, and years ago I wrote a blog, why I started taking vitamins that will give you some examples of things that have worked for me.
If you read this vitamin blog I wrote you can see I am no shill for western medicine, nor do I shun it either. Yes it has flaws, and don’t get me started on big pharma, but I do see it as an indispensable part of a person’s health care equation.
So no excuses! If you’re overdue for a checkup… Make it happen!
The Destination EB website provides links to other non-Destination EB sites. Destination EB and its authors have no control over these sites and makes no representations whatsoever about the accuracy of the information they contain. The fact that Destination EB links to another site does not mean that Destination EB or its authors endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content of that site. If you choose to access any site for which Destination EB provides a link, you do so at your own risk.