Navigating Towards a Healthy Living
• By Danielle Thompson, Quality Improvement & CVMG Family Member •
Spring is here! Cooler weather is upon us, the birds are signing, and there’s a newness in the air that says, “Just try it! Get healthier for that summer bod. It’s time for a fresh new you!”
You know what else is in the air? Allergies.
Those pesky pollens are just flying in the air, up your nose and in your eyes, and they just don’t care that you have work or kids.
They don’t care if you want a good night’s sleep. They make you sneezy, stuffed up, and swollen anyway. Now you have to stop everything to go into your doctor’s office so you can get the treatment to feel normal again.
Education is empowerment
Whether it’s for allergies, the flu, or a follow up visit on your lab work, we all have been to the doctor’s office. At some point during our visit, all of us have had questions and perhaps even a bit of confusion during our visits.
We’ve all been in that boat and navigating those rough waters alone is intimidating.
We at CVMG think that providing education to our patients is the key to empowering them to be successful partners in their own healthy living.
Here we will outline some common questions and provide knowledge that will be a guide through those rough waters.
The time is right
When is it the best time to see your physician?
“I don’t need to go to the doctor. I’m not sick.”
It’s a common phrase heard by loved ones or maybe you’ve even uttered those words.
Actually, you should see the doctor even when you feel perfectly healthy. These types of visits are known as preventative visits and are usually called physicals.
At these appointments you often will hear your doctor use terms such as “preventative care,” “preventative lab orders,” or “A referral to a specialist will be placed to perform preventative measures.”
It is important to get these tests done and see any specialist recommended to insure you are in good health. We hope that all test results will come back normal, but sometimes what you may think is you just feeling tired might be due to low vitamin D levels.
People with certain disorders should see a doctor sooner rather than later.
People with a chronic condition such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or asthma should call their primary care physician to make an appointment if they encounter worsening or new symptoms.
You should even make a follow-up appointment if you are following the treatment plan laid out by your doctor and you experience no changes.
Similarly, if you have been recently admitted to the hospital it is very important to make a follow-up appointment within at least seven days so that your doctor can adjust your plan of care and update your chart with any new or canceled medications.
Understanding your age group
In the medical field age does matter. Depending on your age you may be at more risk for certain conditions.
It is imperative that you understand what you should be screened for based on your age and do those tests and screenings at the recommended time frames. Here are some of the common screenings and coinciding age groups:
- 50 years and older females should receive a mammogram screening of both breasts every year
- 21 years and older females should have a pap smear. Unless otherwise recommended by your physician, due to abnormal results, the time frames for this test are — ages 21-29 should have it performed every two years; and ages 30 and older should have it performed every five years.
- 50 years and older of all genders should have a colorectal cancer screening via a colonoscopy from a gastroenterologist every ten years.
- 18 years and older of all genders with a diagnoses of diabetes should receive a lab order for a diabetic panel and should see their eye doctor for a diabetic retinal eye exam every year.
- 9-26 year old of all genders should receive the Gardasil vaccine, which is performed in a three dose series.
In the midst of all the paperwork you receive from the front desk receptionist there is always the section that asks for your family history.
You may know your father’s favorite color and that your grandmother on your mother’s side prefers fish over chicken, but knowing their medical history is very unlikely.
You may remember a time where you visited your close family member in the hospital but were too young to remember why.
It’s important to open a dialogue with your family to know what conditions your family may have or are suffering from. If a condition runs in your family it needs to be notated in your chart and tests may have to be performed as you may be at risk. For example, if you have a family history of cervical cancer you may, as a female, be more at risk and preventative tests, such as a pap smear, will need to be performed.
So, as you are doing your annual spring cleaning and starting this season with a fresh outlook think about what you can do start a new and fresh healthy way of living. Come see us and start requesting those preventative measures to start your journey towards a healthy living!