Submitted by Health Karma, May 2022
Our lives are busy and sometimes we can’t carve out time to get to the doctor. However, there is nothing more important than your health. Good physical and mental health are the key to being able to manage all that life has thrown our way. In addition, if we are healthy then we have the necessary tools to care for our friends and loved ones.
Healthcare professionals recommend that you have a check-up every year. It is often easiest to remember to set this appointment if you scheduled it during the same month every year… for example your birthday month. This way you can plan, carve out the time and give yourself the gift of health.
Current research shows that during the Pandemic many people put off their annual check (also known as health screenings). This could be problematic if there is a health concern, as the earlier they are detected the easier it is to treat them.
Has it been a while since you’ve visited a doctor for an annual checkup? No worries. Here are some tips of what to expect:
History: The doctor will want to learn about you and will spend time listening to your concerns and providing counseling for your concerns and risk factors. Your doctor will also likely ask you about lifestyle behaviors like smoking, excessive alcohol use, sexual health, diet, sleep habits, housing, transportation, safety, and exercise. The doctor will also check on your vaccination status and update your personal and family medical history as many diseases can be passed down from one generation to the next.
You may want to make a list of questions or things you want to mention. We often forget our mentions and questions when we are in the moment. So, jot them down wherever it is handy for you and refer to your list during the appointment.
Your doctor will also discuss your social history in relation to your lifestyle, work, and coping mechanisms. Feeling stressed, depressed, or anxious? This is the time to mention it to your doctor so that together you can determine the best solutions to put in place.
Lab Tests. A Metabolic Panel lab test is included in Health Karma annual checkup at $0, but members can also access many more labs at 30-50% off from our partnering lab facility, Quest. If you would like to get more lab work done, you can get guidance from your doctor.
Additional screenings may be needed outside of your annual checkup. If it is time for these screenings, your doctor will work with you to get them scheduled.
At age 45, it's time to begin regular screening for colorectal cancer. People with immediate family members with colorectal cancer or other risk factors may need to be screened before age 45.
For some women, age 40 marks the time to begin annual mammogram screening for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start mammograms if they wish to do so. Women aged 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year while women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening. Women should talk to their doctor or other health care professional about when to start and how often to get a mammogram.
Medications, Vitamins, and Supplements. You should have a list…no matter how long or how short it is important for your doctor to know what you take or don’t take. Why? Because there may be something you should be taking that you are not, or there may be some chemical interactions between the elements that you are taking that are not good for you. Your Health Karma membership offers discounts for Prescription drugs and Vitamins and Supplements. So let your doctor help you determine the right things to be taking and let Health Karma help you shop for them at a discounted price.
Vital Signs. Since you will be having your annual checkup virtually, the doctor will walk you through how to capture these numbers. But if you have a thermometer, blood pressure cuff, or pulse oximeter in the house, you will want to have them handy for your scheduled visit. These are some vital signs checked by your doctor:
Blood pressure: Less than 120 over less than 80 is a normal blood pressure. Doctors define high blood pressure (hypertension) as 130 over 80 or higher.
Heart rate: Values between 60 and 100 are considered normal. Many healthy people have heart rates slower than 60, however.
Respiration rate: From 12 to 16 breaths per minute is normal for a healthy adult.
Temperature: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is the average, but healthy people can have resting temperatures slightly higher or lower.
Healthy behaviors work far better than medicine at preventing illness, and don't require a prescription so talk to your doctor about a healthy eating and exercise plan.