Hope all finds you well! I was thinking about the upcoming season and what it takes to actually make it on to the Biggest Loser reality television show. For all the contestant hopefuls, the single wish I have for each of these folks is that they have an established rapport with a physician in each of their respective home towns and cities. How many of you have not been to the doctor in ages? The questions I pose to you for today’s writing is, “ Do you have a physician and when is the last time you paid him or her a visit?”
I know for most of us, Health Care costs are through the ceiling. Health Insurance premiums are skyrocketing when overall preventative measures are declining. The affordability of reaching out to a doctor for preventative care is mind boggling alone.
Professionally , I have always urged my athletes and private clients to establish a relationship with their own personal physician. I want them taking a proactive approach to their medical care and not a reactive one.
How often should I see my physician? There really is not an exact answer to this but there are varied opinions, and two respected physicians from The Mayo Clinic came up with the following for Healthy individuals: internal physician and geriatrician Kevin Fleming, M.D. and gynecologist Petra Casey, M.D., made it easy for you. Here are their recommendations for how often to have the screenings you need most. Annually you should have the following evaluated:
weight, blood pressure, a dental exam, a skin exam, STD/STI testing, and a Mammogram (for women 40+). A fasting blood panel should be standard to identify cholesterol and other markers as well as a glucose tolerance test to determine blood sugar values. Similarly for women , a PAP SMEAR is indicated every three years (every five years if HPV contesting is used). For men over 40 , annual prostate exams are indicated.
Besides the normal screens your doctor will perform, the evaluation time can also be spent dealing with counseling matters, family planning, STD prevention, quitting alcohol or tobacco use, and Nutrition and Weight loss. The simple evaluation can be the force that drives you to bettering your health.
For those of you looking to start or restart an exercise routine, the MD eval is a must. This is the way you are going to learn about your current cardiovascular fitness, your blood pressure, your blood lab values, and your past or current medication use. It is a time to discuss your goals and have your medical support TEAM in place. When it comes to the doctor patient relationship, I stress honesty and openness. I stress the direct route versus beating around the subject and stress a level of comfort in your ability to understand your personal findings.
The wellness package you are trying to achieve starts with the building of this ever important support system. Do you have the right physician for you? Robert Wergin, MD, a practicing family physician in Milford, Nebraska, and member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians says, “It’s about establishing a relationship with someone who cares about, and can help you with, your health.” You may not need to see a doctor when you’re healthy, but when you come down with a nasty bug or mysterious ache, you’ll be glad to have someone with a knowledge of your medical history to turn to. Your relationship with your primary care physician, if well established, can provide peace of mind when you’re not feeling your best.
As a new season approaches , these are some of the values I will be sharing with the contestant hopefuls. Although not all of the finalists we evaluate will make it onto the show, I know we can say we have done an exhaustive battery of tests on each of these people and hopefully identified any areas of concern that need to and can be addressed.
References: Sizensky, Vera: “Do You Really Need an Annual Checkup?”. Women’s Health, Oct. 2012