Many people are reactive when it comes to their health. They may only call a doctor when they are already sick or in pain. However, the first step to preventing certain health conditions or getting ahead of chronic disease is to take a more proactive approach. Professional Physical Therapy Group recommends prioritizing your health during National Self-Check Month, which is a perfect reminder to take charge of your health and increase your odds of avoiding preventable conditions.
Here are a few things you can start doing today to take charge of your health and improve your quality of life:
Learn About Self-Checks
Many people are familiar with performing self-checks for breast cancer or potential skin abnormalities that can signal melanoma, but self-checks don’t always mean a physical self-evaluation. It’s also important to understand your personal health risks and learn warning signs that indicate you are not completely healthy. If you are at risk for illness or certain health conditions, your doctor can advise you on symptoms to look out for in your daily life that mean it’s time to come in for an evaluation. You can check Mayo Clinic’s Symptom Checker to learn about any type of symptoms or pain you might be experiencing and what could be the cause.
Learning how to conduct self-checks and doing your own simple physical examination at home can help you take charge of your health. You can also take some time to ask yourself these early detection questions to know more about your risk factors and next steps. Remember when it comes to pain, early detection can help prevent an acute problem from turning into a chronic one.
Maybe you are feeling healthy and do not have time to include a self-check on your busy schedule, make time even during this month. As @the.handsofgrace explains why performing a self-check is important:
“Early detection of most cancers, heart problems, diabetes, and weight issues tend to be simpler to address and have better long-term outcomes when detected early. That’s why you hear the phrase “early detection saves lives.” Many people don’t perform self-checks because they think they don’t want to know if they are sick, or they believe that they aren’t at risk for disease. However, the earlier an issue is detected, the more likely a person is to get the treatment that can save or extend their life.”
Make A List
It is very easy to get in front of your doctor and draw a blank when they ask how you’ve been and forget concerns you wanted to address. To avoid this, make a list of any abnormal symptoms you’re experiencing and activities you are doing that may exacerbate issues, and be sure to list any medications you are taking. Making a list ensures you don’t forget to ask about anything that seems small but could turn out to be a significant risk to your health.
Visit a Healthcare Provider For a Routine Well Visit
Call your primary care physician and make an appointment for a routine physical or well visit (don’t forget your list!). Annual checkups allow your physician to establish a baseline for your health and help you understand any risk factors you may be facing, empowering you to make the best decisions for your health.
This visit could also serve as an opportunity to ask your doctor how to perform self-checks properly at home and answer questions about your own self-check findings.
If you haven’t visited your doctor in a while and are not confident about sharing your symptoms – especially if a nagging pain or symptom has been bothering you for months – follow these tips to advocate for yourself during a doctor’s appointment.
Practice Healthy Habits
The best way to avoid major health concerns is to practice healthy habits. Eating well and getting regular exercise are ways to keep your body working at its best. If pain prevents you from taking charge of your health, try using an electrotherapy device in your health routine. It’s a medication-free solution that uses electrical impulses to block pain signals.
This National Self-Check Month, take some time to think about your health and learn the best ways to take care of yourself. Do it for you, your family, and everyone who loves you.