Archive for January 2015

The importance of your yearly physical

Doctor holding up the disc of a stethoscopeHow old are you? Are you 20? Are you 30? What about 60? Are you properly taking care of your health?  Do you always get your annual physical? If not, are you aware of what might be happening to your health that you are not aware of?

Thinking about an annual physical may seem silly to someone in their 20’s and 30’s. They believe they are immortal and nothing bad will happen to their health until they get to be older. And in a way that is true, more elderly people have health problems than those that are younger. Age does not take away the importance of having a yearly check-up. Many people struggle financially to have health insurance and can’t afford the cost of an annual check-up. Money shouldn’t be an issue that stops you from taking care of your health. There are clinics all over that will do simple tests involving blood tests, blood pressure and checking heart rates. There are dental schools that offer low rates to have your teeth taken care of. Really, if you want to take care of yourself, you can find a way.

I discovered the importance of a yearly physical last year. I don’t consider myself old, I’m 59. Last June at my annual physical, my doctor ordered the usual tests. I had to have blood work, a pap smear and a mammogram. The mammogram showed breast cancer. The lump was very small. It was caught early because I had my yearly exam. My treatment has been minimal. I have several friends that have not been so lucky. Some have had mastectomies and chemo, others have passed on. The age didn’t matter.  One friend was only 37.

I also knew a firefighter who went for his annual physical. At his exam, the doctor noticed a weird heartbeat sound. He was sent for further tests. The tests showed he was on the verge of having an aortic aneurysm, which is what John Ritter passed away from. It’s always lethal when not caught.

This might sound like a lecture; I guess it is. It might not seem very important to keep up with your health. It might seem like a waste of time. I can assure you, it is not. You never know what is happening inside your body. An annual physical can show things starting before they become huge problems. Be proactive with your health. Don’t become a statistic.