It is so easy to let our busy lives get in the way of taking proper care of ourselves.  Especially when it involves going to the doctor, or being poked or prodded!  Sometimes when we feel good, nothing hurts, and we know we take good care of ourselves, then we really put off important check ups. 

Take a minute to review the list below, and if needed go ahead and take the steps needed to get at least one of these on the books.

Have you had a physical with your general care physician in the past year?  This is such an important appointment to get on your schedule every single year.  First of all, you will be so glad if you do get sick, that you have someone to call that knows your health history and can help you in a bind.  It is also immeasurably important that someone is checking all the moles, freckles, and marks on your body regularly, as well as a yearly blood workup, and the other simple check-up stuff the doctor performs.  Everything is so much simpler if caught early, even if it is something as simple as low iron or Vitamin D.  You want to know, and take the little steps (like an appropriate vitamin) before you have problems that could have been cut off at the pass.

Have you seen your dentist in the past 6 months?  Even if you have perfect teeth with no problems, a cleaning and check up every 6 months is an important appointment to have.  To quote my parents from my early years “Now these are your permanent teeth and you don’t get another set, so you have to take good care of them” .  I have been slightly obsessed with permanent teeth ever since, and in fact had a recurring dream for years where I would fall and knock out my front teeth, and then start freaking out and saying “oh no, but they were permanent teeth!!!”  Anyway, same scenario, it’s easy to let this appointment go when nothing hurts, but there are so many other problems that can be avoided or significantly minimized if caught early.

If you wear glasses or contacts have you seen your eye doctor in the past year?  This is the appointment I am going to make today!  I am the worst about letting this slide, and again sight is pretty darn important.  Not just to keep your prescription up to date, but also to be monitoring for such things as glaucoma or macular degeneration. 

If you are a woman have you been to the gynecologist in the past year?  This appointment tends to start getting skipped for that population that has had their last baby, but is not in menopause yet.  A yearly pap smear is such an important yearly screening tool.  It is amazing how quickly abnormal cells can proliferate, but a pap smear catches it so early, and can make it a non-issue a lot of times.

If you are a woman and over 40 have you had a mammogram in the past year?  Again, this is a yearly check up.  If you are going to you primary care physician every year then they probably have you scheduled for this too, but it should also be on your radar.  Mark your calendar and take this simple step, it is so easy!

If you are over 50 have you had a colonoscopy or other colon cancer screening?  You should check with your primary care physician to find out what guidelines you should follow based on your health history and your family health history.  This is another preventative screening tool that is essential!  Colon cancer is one of the most curable cancers if it is caught early.  If you are over 50, speak with your doctor even if you don’t have any noticeable symptoms.

Other appointments to consider:

Mental Health professionals – Counselors, Sociologists, Psychologists      This is such a valuable resource, and it is a pity that every single person does not have a therapist.  For all the big and little bumps in the road a good counselor is such a gift.  Sometimes we may feel that if there is not a tragedy or huge problem to deal with, that it is just life and we should deal with it.  But “just life” is hard, and someone who specializes in the inter-workings of our brains, emotions, behavior, and much more; can really add insight and solutions that can help so much in our lives.  If you have thought about calling someone for some guidance or help, now’s the time, just do it!

Physical Therapists.  If you have random pains leftover from an old injury or surgery, or you are an athlete trying to keep injury at bay, or you have a multitude of other physical or muscular problems…this is a great resource!  They can figure out where a problem may be stemming from, and help to eradicate it through very simple exercises, muscle massage, ice therapy, ultra sound therapy, and much more.  Again this is a great resource to have when something crops up and you need relief and or intervention (kink in neck or neck injury, back pain, vertigo, carpel tunnel, knee problems, and the list goes on forever)!

Alright, so there it is, probably not an exhaustive list, but it will get you on the right path.  Some of you might have your work cut out for you, but your health is so very worth it!  Preserve your health as best you can, because we all know how terrible it feels to be sick!