How Often Should I Go To The Doctor?
There are two kinds of people; those who put off going to the doctor until they are so sick, they end up in hospital, and those who are completely paranoid about every niggle that they have their doctors on speed dial.
There is however a happy middle ground. What if we went to the doctors for an annual ‘health’ check instead of only when we are sick? It’s not what we are conditioned to do but it would certainly contribute to taking more responsibility for our health outcomes.
WHAT A DOCTORS VISIT SHOULD LOOK LIKE
Instead of a doctor habitually reaching for his/her prescription pad at the faintest sign of a symptom, an annual health check would look something like this;
- A physical check of blood pressure, urine, blood, reproductive health etc
- Questioning around exercise habits
- Enquiring about nutritional intake
- Mental health check
- Work satisfaction
- Personal relationships
- Self-care routines
Imagine how reflective this would be? It would make us more self-aware of our bodies and any changes we are experiencing. It would also empower us to make better decisions about our health and implement necessary changes that would have a positive impact for our longevity and healthy habits we would pass on those around us.
Of course, acute injuries and health emergencies require immediate attention. Hospital emergency rooms should not be clogged with minor ailments that could be remedied by a visit to the local pharmacy or health store.
We have become so conditioned to expect a script for the slightest cough, that we have lost touch with what it means to live a holistic life and how to treat every day health matters with safe and effective remedies from nature.
Our gardens should be apothecaries abundant with edible and medicinal plants instead of vast wastelands of lawn that yield no productive benefit.
If we all grew our fruits, vegetables and herbs organically we would have little need for doctors and even less need for synthetic pharmaceuticals that in many instances do more harm than good.
I am sure many of us remember raiding our grandparents’ gardens of homegrown tomatoes, odd shaped cucumbers, carrots, fragrant herbs and juicy fruits. Homegrown and home cooked was the ‘uber eats’ of the day. It was the norm and historically our health was much better and old age without a plethora of medications was perfectly common.
With statistics now telling us that at least two thirds of the population is overweight and over half is obese, numbers are dramatically rising for type 2 diabetes, allergies, cardiovascular disease, auto immune conditions and cancer, this should be a massive wake up call to switch off the tv, put down the fork and go for a walk.
More than 85% of chronic disease is caused by lifestyle habits, poor dietary choices, lack of exercise, sunshine, clean water and a basic understanding that what you put in your body will determine your path to health or disease.
SO, TO ANSWER THE QUESTION, 'HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU GO TO THE DOCTOR?
If you are relatively healthy without underlying conditions, a yearly check up with a blood work up is a great proactive thing to do. With a yearly check, it is quick to pick up any abnormalities early and more likely to find a positive resolution.
It’s also a great way to keep you motivated to stay on a healthy trajectory when you can see your test result numbers going in the right direction.
For women from menstruation, it’s important to develop a good relationship with a health practitioner where you feel safe to share personal details. Many young women resort to social media for answers to questions they are too embarrassed to ask a doctor but asking strangers about your intimate health issues may not end well.
Regular screenings like pap smears and breast health are vital for picking up early signs of cervical and uterine changes, endometriosis, lumps and bumps, and anything out of the ordinary.
What we need to do as a society is change our approach to health, not hand over our health to someone else to fix, make sure to ask lots of questions, learn about your anatomy and how the body works, what fuels us and what makes us sick. Education and communication are key, and they are life lessons we must pass onto our children for the sake of their health future.
Our world is getting sicker, fatter and unhealthier. In most instances we ate our way into this disease state, and we need to eat our way out. We need to take responsibility for our own health and not pace the burden on doctors or other health practitioners to fix us.
Every day is a great day to create new habits. Begin with one thing, something as simple as going for a walk or ditching the soft drinks for water. Change isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth it.
Written by Mona Hecke
Mona Hecke is a degree qualified Naturopath, nutrition specialist and health and wellness writer.
With over 20 years in the health industry, beginning with a focus on children and families, and a bestselling book ‘The Lunchbox Revolution’, Mona is now empowering women through education and conversation to take action and embrace change. Gut health, mindfulness, nutrition, hormones, and menopause are the topics that women want and need to know to create their healthy future.
Mona holds certifications in Lifestyle Coaching, Kinesiology, holistic herbal medicine, and nutrition.
A recognised leader in the health industry, Mona’s strong social media presence and passion for influencing change will continue to be a catalyst for health reform for the benefit of every Australian.