Who else is still in “New Year - New Me” mood? You most likely have an impressive "2019 resolutions" list by now. Did you include “taking care of me?” If not, you better put this one high on your list! After all, you can smash all those goals only if you take good care of yourself from the inside out. Here is the ultimate doctors-to-see checklist to start making those appointments. In fact, why not make a promise to schedule all of these in January or at least in the first three months of the year? Let’s be honest: you are going to try to avoid seeing a doctor unless you really have to. So, why not kill the procrastination right away. Take your phone in your hand and schedule the following doctor's appointments for your highest good.
How Often to Visit: Once a Year
If you haven’t been sick in the last year or so that’s awesome! However, your family doctor would really like to see you. You might have a habit of going to your primary doctor only when something goes wrong. And this is wrong by itself! Schedule a wellness exam once a year to keep track of your health in general. Your doctor will perform a variety of checks to make sure everything is okay with your body. This simple physical exam includes measuring your height and weight, checking your blood pressure and pulse as well as taking a blood sample. Don’t skip the last one because it will provide you with information such as kidney and liver function. Additionally, your doctor will examine your eyes, ears, mouth, and reflexes.
Use this time to ask any questions you might have. The annual wellness check will allow your doctor to take a look at your medical history and address potential red flags. If needed, your primary care physician will refer you to a specialist or suggest making more detailed exams. A simple routine visit to your doctor might keep other doctors away, so grab that phone and make an appointment ASAP.
How Often to Visit: Every 6 Months
Laughter reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, so does a healthy smile! Smiling at your dentist on a regular basis is more important than most people think. You might be wondering what your teeth have to do with a heart attack and stroke.
Namely, regular dentist visits can detect gum disease which besides oral cancers it’s also related to heart disease and stroke. Believe it or not, oral health might affect or be affected by many diseases and conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis. Your dentist will clean your teeth, check for cracks, decay and cavities as well as examine your gums. With regular check-ups and teeth cleanings, your dentist will detect potential issues early enough, so the treatments will be simpler.
Sitting in the dentist chair at least twice a year for a routine check will most certainly prevent bigger issues and save you some coins! Once every 12 months, your dentist will perform an X-ray of your mouth for a more in-depth examination of your teeth and bones. There are so many reasons to smile, so get those pearly whites on point!
How Often to Visit: Once a Year
Your vagina needs some professional attention! No, that doesn’t include your partner no matter how big of a pro he or she is under the sheets. Whether you are sexually active or not, the general rule says that every woman should see a gynecologist after the age of 21.
A routine check includes a Pap smear (can be done on a one-to-three-year interval), a breast exam and a pelvic exam. Note that a visit to the gyno is not only about the Pap smear that is done to prevent cervix cancer. Go a step further and request HPV test in case the Pap smear doesn’t include one. Also, the breast exam will help in the prevention of breast cancer. Moreover, during the pelvic exam, the doctor will check your reproductive organs for infections, abnormalities and so on.
Be honest with your gynecologist! Feel free to discuss things like period regulations, family planning or sexual dysfunction. Don’t hesitate to ask all the “awkward” questions you feel too uncomfortable asking even your besties. After all, some of your concerns and curiosities really need an answer from an expert, not just anyone!
How Often to Visit: Once a Year
Admit it: you wouldn't go to your dermatologist unless something weird appears on your skin and annoys the hell out of you. One reason to see a dermatologist is that skin cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. Let’s be real: the sun is no longer playing nice. Your dermatologist will most certainly ask whether you use SPF on a regular basis. So, make sure you do!
Self-checks can also help you determine whether something on your skin needs professional attention. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t schedule a dermatologist appointment once a year. Your dermatologist will perform a full-body exam checking all your moles, freckles and so on. The doctor might suggest further examination if anything looks suspicious. Some people may need to see their dermatologist more often depending on their skin, family history of skin cancer, melanoma or other diseases and conditions.
How Often to Visit: Once a Year to Every Two Years
Go and check your eyes! How else are you going to continue with online shopping or keep an eagle eye on your crush? Even if you have a good vision, visiting an optometrist is a must. Depending on your eye health, family history, and age, you should see an eye doctor annually or once every two years. You can get away with one visit every two years if you are younger than 60 or don’t have any particular issues with your eyes.
A routine eye exam usually includes checks for four most common eye diseases: glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. These diseases are more likely to appear after the age of 40, but a routine check can help for early detection and prevention. Those who wear glasses should visit an optometrist regularly to update their prescriptions.
How Often To Visit: Once a Year If You Have a Family History of Breast Cancer
In case you have a family history of breast cancer it’s recommended to make yearly mammograms. Women who carry the BRCA1 OR BRCA2 gene mutation have a higher risk. Genetic testing can help you determine the specifics of this risk. Those with a family history of breast, peritoneal, fallopian tube or ovarian cancer should submit a blood or saliva sample for genetic testing.
We are lucky enough to live in an age of advanced medicine. Gene screening might feel a bit scary considering the disturbing results you might get. However, it’s better to prevent than cure. Based on the results of genetic testing you can schedule more or less frequent preventive exams. Breast cancer is rare in women younger than 40, but yearly mammograms are strongly recommended for ladies over 40.
Keep in mind that this get-healthy checklist covers the basics. You are a wonderfully unique human being meaning that you might need to make an extra appointment depending on your specific needs. There’s nothing wrong in being extra even if that means spending extra money and time. There’s no such bag, a piece of clothing or gadget that’s more important than your health.
Funny (or sadly) enough, we often splurge on unnecessary stuff instead of investing in our health. What was the last time you had these routine check-ups? Probably way before your last shopping session. It’s time to clear your schedule and check your health. Now we’re going to excuse you because you have some appointments to make!