7 year-end health checks
After clearing three cancers, I’m very proactive about staying health. That’s why I make sure to be up-to-date on important annual health screenings. There’s still time for you to be too. Keep reading for 7 year-end health checks that will help start the new year off well (no pun intended!)!
I’m pretty protective of my health. We only get one body so we need to care for it. My body went through hell clearing bone cancer, melanoma and breast cancer.
I’m honestly in awe of how strong and healthy my body is, but I also know that I take responsibility for keeping my body in good condition. Eating healthy foods, being active, taking actions to keep stress and anxiety low, and other steps help ensure this strength. Being proactive in maintaining good health do this too.
7 year-end health checks to schedule
Cancer screenings save lives, including mine. My third cancer was discovered with a routine preventive mammogram. So I’m pretty passionate about not skipping these! Here are a few common screenings:
- Breast cancer screenings, such as mammograms starting at age 40.
- Colorectal cancer screenings, such as a colonoscopy, are recommended starting at age 45.
- Prostate checks.
- Pap tests and HPV screenings.
Science is a beautiful thing and, thanks to science and research, vaccines help protect lives. Not just yours but your family, friends, neighbors and our communities. Some of the most recommended include flu, Covid-19, shingles, HPV (the only vaccine that helps prevent cancer!) and others. Talk to your doctor about which are best for you.
Over 11 million Americans over age 12 need vision help, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Improving vision is important, but so is stopping eye disease. These conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma, are common and unfortunately sometimes not diagnosed until symptoms are progressed. If you have any changes in your eyes, including vision loss, floaters, eye pain, double vision or other, contact an eye doctor right away.
Dental cleaning and exam.
Oral health is important to overall health too. Not only does a professional teeth cleaning help with fresh breath and strong teeth, it checks for gum disease, tooth decay and possible infections or trouble spots. Catching any of these problems early can prevent more extensive health issues, tooth loss, costly procedures and more. If you’re going through chemotherapy or other cancer treatment, talk to your oncologist and/or dentist about whether cleanings are ok during treatment. I had to postpone my cleanings a few times during chemo due to low blood counts (which increase risk of bleeding and infection). My dentist instead recommended gentle cleansing techniques to maintain good oral health until I got my cleaning.
Mental health check.
There is a lot in life that can affect our mental health. Going through cancer or other illnesses, relationship issues, financial challenges, job, family, and so much else can weigh heavy on us. However, learning to manage challenges to protect our mental health is important. Our mental and emotional states can impact our physical health too. Talking to a counselor can really help. Or maybe you prefer a support group or a trusted doctor. Finding someone who can offer objective help (often times not our family and friends who may provide subjective opinions more than help) can be very beneficial. [Read ‘6 tips for mental health support’]
An annual skin cancer screening is an important preventive health check (if you have a history of skin cancer or personal high risk, you may see a dermatologist more often). Make sure your doctor does a thorough exam of your entire body, including scalp, mouth and even ‘down there.’ You should also do self-exams on your skin so you notice changes on your body. For instance, I have many moles so do a monthly skin check to ensure no changes. I’ve caught a few moles looking ‘different’ and seen my dermatologist right away, leading to removing the moles. Two came back severe atypical, meaning we thankfully removed them before they could grow into skin cancer.
Schedule an annual visit with your primary care doctor even if you’re feeling well. This visit should include blood pressure reading, cholesterol and blood sugar checks and any other screenings that your doctor recommends. A wellness exam helps set a baseline for your health, letting your doctor notice changes. So be honest with how your feeling, health/life history and more.
Being proactive can save your life!
These 7 year-end health checks are just a few important ways to stay healthy. Of course, you should contact your doctor right away with any changes to your health. Being proactive can help save your life!
Have you scheduled your year-end visit yet?
*This not meant as medical advice and shared an informational only. Any tests, medications and other health actions taken are solely your responsibilities.