They say you have nothing if you don't have your health. All the money, time, and love in the world mean nothing if you can't get out of bed to enjoy them. Keeping up with your annual exams can ensure that your life is fulfilled and nothing goes unnoticed - from a broken bone to a broken heart. While some people spread their exams out over the year, others pack them all into a couple of weeks (all depending on your work availability). No matter how you do it, make sure that each of these is thoroughly executed and there are no red flags. The last one is the most important!
13 Family Doctor's appointment (Full Physical)
Blood pressure, pulse, ear scope, when they tap on your chest and back, when the cold stethoscope is pressed against your skin and you deeply breath in and out repeatedly, and the tongue depressor that makes you gag. The 'Physical' is a variety of different routine exams that check the main functions of your body. All simple basic tests that ensure you are going to walk out of the office with no obvious life threatening conditions. Now is also the time to bring up any and all medical questions you have. Had headaches lately? Bring it up. A mole looks strange? Show your doctor. This is not the place to be embarrassed.
12 Dental exam
Say 'awwwwwwwwwwwwh'. Believe it or not, oral health actually plays a huge part in overall well-being. There are a number of bacteria cultures in your mouth, some that should be there and some that are detrimental to your health. Regular dental exams will help keep these 'bad' bacteria at bay. Yearly dental check ups are also needed for basic hygiene related to the cleanliness of your mouth as it relates to plaque and bad breath! Plus, a nice polish will maintain the pearly whites you've worked so hard for.
11 Eye exam
Of many of things that can be a hinderance on your life, faltering eyesight is certainly one of the most impactful. Eye surgeries are some of the most difficult (which is why Ophthalmologists make so much money) so checking in regularly to prevent further intrusion is certainly in your best interest. Eye exams only need to be done every 2 years but if you start noticing changes in your sight it is recommended you make an appointment.
10 Dermatology check-up
That mole you brought up with your doctor? Now is the time to really examine it. The skin is the body's largest organ and getting a thorough once-over with a specialized doctor can answer many of the questions you've been unsure about. Will this scar every go away? What should I do about these dry spots? What are these dark patches? Some marks may be more serious than others so get any checked out that seem new, strange, or from unknown sources.
The risk of breast cancer is not something to be taken lightly. You support the pink ribbon, but do you support yourself? Once you hit 45 years old it is time to go in for a proper examination. Until then, make sure your family doctor checks for lumps during his/her routine physical. However, if you have a history of breast cancer you should be going in for a mammogram every year to get checked, and at a younger age. Early detection could save your life.
8 Colorectal exam
Colorectal exams are often forgotten because most people do not need to worry about them until much later in life. The age to begin frequent exams is 50 years of age for both men and women. However, if you have a higher risk (meaning a family member has had colon cancer) you should get checked as early as 30 and more frequently.
7 Pap screening (Cevical Cancer Exam)
If you are between the ages of 21 and 29 (though you should get a test after the first time you have sex if it is younger than that) then you should book a pap smear every 3 years. This frequency changed in 2012. If you are 30-65 you only need to go every 5 years. This test can be coupled with an STD screening as well and is important to check for cervical cancer. So put on your gown, lay back, put your heels in the holster, and try not to make any awkward conversations while your doctor is down there. It's not the most comfortable of the recommended exams, but it is an extremely important one.
6 STI test
Previously known as Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) - now, Sexually Transmitted Infection(STI). While this can be paired with the aforementioned Pap Smear, it may be important to have the exam more than once every 3 years. It is recommended that you get tested after each and every sexual partner. If you are married you can hope that faithfulness is playing a part in your overall health and, unless concerned, the 3 year pap-coupling will likely be enough. For a majority of the STI's it is a simple blood test that can be done at any lab with paperwork from your family doctor or a walk in clinic. Others require a swab.
5 Psychologist check-in
Mental health is equally as important as physical health. There is a new found understanding and acceptance of many physical health ailments plaguing the world today and trips to the 'shrink' are far less faux pas then it used to be. Anything from mild depression to OCD to schizophrenia, or simply a broken heart in need of talking through can be helped with proper therapy. Whether you go three times a week, once a month, or once a year, a proper check in can be ideal for well-being.
Stop cracking your neck! Leave all of the adjustments up to the professionals. Some people are in chronic pain and find huge relief with a chiropractor. Other's need simple adjustments throughout the year to keep posture perfect and headaches at bay. If you play sports, sit for long periods of time, or do any strange twists or heavy lifting (yes, this means everyone), it is a great idea to get in and get cracked.
3 Massage Therapist
Massage is sort of like the psychologist for your body. It works through stress, heartache, and pain. After long days, weeks, months at work (whether you do construction or are a stay at home parent), a massage can eliminate much of the discomfort you are feeling and also clear and refresh your head and soul. It is highly recommended when life becomes too much and you need to be pampered. The health benefits of a stress-free life are astronomical, and at least this will play its part.
People develop and lose allergies over the course of their life. While you may not have had a peanut allergy at birth it is possible you will have one in your 30s. And although you were allergic to your cherished childhood cat whom you admired from a distance, you might be able to cuddle one sneeze-free in adulthood. Checking in every few years will ensure nothing major sneaks up on you, and may actually relieve you of some limitations you thought you still had. Life can get a whole lot easier with a few simple tests.
1 Visiting family
This is the most important of them all and should be done as often as possible. Just because you move out and build your own life does not mean you still don't need your family. And family does not have to be mom, dad, and siblings. Family can be whatever family means to you. Unconditional love is something that can't be bought and can cure ailments you never knew you had. There is nothing like curling up on the couch with your family in front of a fire and laughing and reminiscing to cure the blues. Stay connected. Stay alive.