Friday, October 4, 2013

Should I Get a Physical?

If you've trained with me, then you know one of the first questions I ask during the assessment is if you've had any illnesses or injuries and when was your last physical. It's rare that I hear someone tell me they keep up on their physicals on a yearly basis. In some cases, depending on age and health history, this is ok. Every other year or less is acceptable. In most cases, it's time to start the routine of getting a yearly physical.
I suggest getting a physical around the same time each year: your birthday, after the holidays/start of the new year, or the start of a new season (fall is perfect as we usually fall into new routines when the new school year starts).

If you need a reason to get a physical or want to know how often you should consider getting one, this is a quick read that can answer your questions:
Should You Get An Annual Physical?

Most doctor's offices will do blood work, a urine test, and an EKG and will only call you with the result of the blood work if there is something wrong. However, you can get a copy of your results even if you don't get a call. If you're curious to see where you stand, the following article can tell you normal ranges for blood cell count, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
What Do Blood Tests Show?

If cancer runs in your family, it's even more important for you to get a physical. According to the article below, "Often a doctor can find early cancer during a physical exam or with routine tests, even if a person has no symptoms."
About a year ago, a friend of the family in his mid-30's went to his doctor for a routine physical with no other reason than he was getting married and wanted to see if he was in good health. The doctor informed him that he was in the early stages of cancer. He had no symptoms. I am happy to say that he is doing well, as he found it and fought it early.
As the article says, "Ask your doctor about your cancer risk, problems to watch for, and a schedule of regular checkups."
How Can Cancer Be Detected Early?

These articles are all quick reads and can give you a good idea of what to ask your doctor when you are at that appointment. The best time to understand your body and your risks is when you are healthy.

No comments: