October 2, 2018

Rock The Walk Week 2

General Health

Week 2 everyone! Way to go! They say the first step is the hardest, and look at you, rockin’ week 1 and moving on through to week 2. At this rate, there’s no stopping you!

Week 2’s topic was about Annual Physical Exams….or yearly appointments….or checkups, or whatever you want to call them. In a nutshell, it’s the visit you’re supposed to do yearly with your doctor to check in on your vitals, medications, tests, immunizations and to address any concerns you may have.

I sometimes equate Annual Physical Exams to owning a vehicle, and getting a yearly tune-up. Now, notably, to the dismay of my mechanically-brained father, I know NOTHING about cars (true story….went to Auto-Zone to pick up something for my car and was asked what type of engine it had, and I answered “black”, instead of “4 cylinder”, whoops….*insert facepalm*) BUT, I do know in order to keep my vehicle running pristinely, I need to have it tuned up yearly—make sure the oil is changed regularly, spark plugs checked, tires rotated, note how old the battery is,  and all of the widgets and other gadgets under the hood looked at too. If a problem were to come up during my vehicle tune up, I would want it addressed soon after to prevent any sort of further damage, or an awkward encounter of having my vehicle die on my way to work and being stranded because I chose to ignore the problem.

What if we started treating our bodies and our annual exams like our vehicles with a tune-up. We visit our mechanic (read: health care provider) and go through all of the diagnostic tests and checks (ie: blood pressure check, pulse check, listening to our heart and lungs, etc.) and if something is ‘due’ on our car (ie: mammogram, colonoscopy, immunizations) we have it taken care of and go on our way.  Good as new, right?

I think what sometimes happens with our Annual Exam is we get caught in this conundrum of “yes, I’ll get to it”, but we sort of forget and keep pushing it off. We feel fine and we get busy with life and don’t think anything of it until we are thrown from our normal, and we start having aches, pains or feeling junky, and we may start getting nervous about the symptoms we are experiencing. At this point, we visit our doctor and the symptoms may potentially be nothing, or it could be something a bit more serious. We may think to ourselves, “Why didn’t I go in sooner?!”

Equate this to your vehicle—an idiot light comes up on your dash, and you keep driving and driving because “Meh, it drives fine and everything sounds ok” and a few days/weeks/months later the vehicle completely dies on the road (see my above paragraph). Ruh roh, now what? You have it towed to the mechanic and come to find out it is something big <insert scary and expensive car problem here>. Now what? You sort of have to fix it, and it’s going to take time, money and a bit of your good mood away.

Annual exams allow a person to develop a relationship with their health care provider, and to have the recommended preventative tests done based on your age. Seeing your health care provider also gives you the opportunity to discuss any health concerns or questions you may have. Your provider is an incredibly smart individual, and likely has some ideas for you if you’re looking to lose weight or start an exercise regime, or if you’ve seen something on social media or the news about certain diseases or medications—they can clear it up.

Seeing your provider yearly can also be a cost-saving. Preventative health screenings that are recommended by your provider can help indicate if there is a potential health problem. If something abnormal comes up, it can be addressed sooner and before (potentially) something more serious comes about which may cost you financially with medical bills, and with your time and your health. Many insurance providers will pay for this yearly appointment, and even some of the preventative health screenings and immunizations, which means less out of your pocket. ((Please, please, please double check with your insurance provider before booking an appointment so that you know what is and what isn’t covered! As much as the 7 people who read this blog may think it’s good info, an insurance company won’t take this blog’s word for it J))

We take the time to get our cars looked into and tuned up, and while our vehicles are incredibly important, shouldn’t our health be taken just as seriously? Our vehicles can be fixed and even replaced, but our health cannot. Take the time to visit your provider and get your yearly tune up.

(Hey dad, maybe I DID learn something about vehicles! J)

Until next time!