‘Science Says’ Sunday – Wellness checks

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I have covered COVID-19 so much lately that I figured we could take one Sunday off to remind us all that wellness checks are still necessary this year and you should still plan to schedule them if you haven’t already! Here I am, pictured above, getting my annual check up a while ago, but pulled the picture out of the archives because I forgot to take a picture when I went to get my exam in January.

I heard ‘on the grapevine’ that people are afraid to go get wellness checkups. Admittedly, I did convert my dermatologist appointment in March to a tele-health visit (that means we had the visit over the phone), but only because I didn’t need an in-person visit with my dermatologist. However, let me be clear and say that IF YOU NEED TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR, YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY GO SEE YOUR DOCTOR. The boys are still getting their check ups this summer, and so should you.

The stay-at-home orders have confused a lot of people, but many clinics and hospitals have policies and procedures in place to see patients who aren’t there for COVID-19 related symptoms.

Therefore, consider the following:

Call or email your physician if you are due for an annual exam, mammogram, prostate exam, pap smear, cholesterol or blood pressure check, etc. Depending on your health and history, your physician will determine when and how those procedures should be done. Dental visits should be scheduled as dental practices permit, but dental emergencies should absolutely be addressed immediately.

Personally, here are some of the health checks I get done:

Annual wellness check

Annual gynecologist visit (pap if needed, breast exam, and mammography if needed)

Dermatology check as necessary (I was going every three months lately because I had dermatitis that was OUT OF CONTROL. Finally under control though, yay!)

Bi-annual dental check (cleaning every time, and other procedures as needed)

Annual eye exam (super important, especially as I age)

 

For the kids, their health checks include:

Annual wellness checks with pediatrician (vaccines as indicated on vaccine schedule)

Bi-annual dental checks (only cleanings so far; yay for no cavities)

 

For my hubby, health checks include:

Annual wellness check (including testicular and prostate exam)

Bi-annual dental checks

Dermatology check as necessary

 

A good rule of thumb is to schedule all of these appointments around the time of your birthday so that you don’t forget to get them in throughout the year.

 

In between health checks, remember to:

Maintain physical activity (remember it’s safe to go for walks, bike rides, hikes, etc, and just maintain a 6′ distance from anyone you may come across). You may notice you’re doing a lot of sitting around during the stay-at-home quarantine. Get up for about 2-5 min every hour to burn a few calories. They add up during the day and prevent you from being overly sedentary (or not active) during the day.

Drink water. I’m notorious for favoring diet Cokes (#sorrynotsorry), but I do try to drink a glass of water in the morning, noon, and night. I should probably drink more, but hey, we all have our limitations, right?? How much water depends on a number of factors, so drink water when able, is a good rule of thumb.

Try to eat a healthy, well-balanced meal. So very super important. More to come on what “healthy” means in an upcoming post. Fruits and veggies, lean meat (if you eat meat), protein, fiber, beans, etc…those sorts of things. Well balanced means you also get to eat a donut every so often if that’s what makes your heart happy. 🙂

Get some sleep! Sleep is restorative and helps improve health outcomes (lack of sleep is associated with poorer heart health, for example). I love sleep, but it’s so hard to get in. Cat naps help, so just try to squeeze it in when ever possible.

Try not to stress. Every time I go to the doctor, she says to me ” DON’T STRESS!! It’s not good for your health!” Sigh. I’m such a ball of stress most of the time. I internalize it and it physically manifests. Stress has been shown to increase cortisol in your body; a hormone that in high quantities, is associated with poor health outcomes, including inflammation, diabetes, even weight gain. More to come on the relationship between stress and health later.

So, try a little TikTok (I still don’t get it and am NOT dancing for strangers, lol!), some Instagram or Pinterest DIYs, virtual happy hours with friends (but don’t drink too much, because hello, also bad), and try to manage your health as best as possible during a time that is uncertain at worst, but a great time for reflection, at best. 🙂

Finally, super important to also note that if you have an emergency, you should ABSOLUTELY go to the ER or call an ambulance to come to your home. COVID-19 should not keep you from maintaining your health checks or or keep you from getting the health help you need. Remember that substance or alcohol abuse, mental health, and other conditions should also be checked, so call a physician, clinic, or hospital as necessary. Okay??

Be safe and be well, friends!

 

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