This blog is not only for our potential clients but also for many of us in our own office. We are busy lawyers, we feel good, so why take the time to go to the doctor? Well, now is the time to find a doctor and set up a baseline before things start going downhill. I read an article recently in the USA Today and they gave a good analogy –think of your body like a car, it’s an investment that requires routine check ups, maintenance and care. Without that, it’s going to break down and cost a lot more in the long run. USA Today had two health care providers help educate us on what we needed to know.
- Establish yourself with a primary care doctor and getting a check-up before you get sick. This entails, getting family histories and getting your blood checked and addressing your diet and wellness. To encourage this, most major insurance companies make wellness visits free.
- Get your blood pressure checked: Men and women should get their blood pressure checked once every two years if there’s no personal or family history of high blood pressure.. Generally, a high number below 120 and a low number below 80 is good but ask your doctor what the norm is for you. If the numbers are consistently closer or higher to 140 over 90, that could indicate something going wrong. High blood pressure can indicate other issues like diabetes, bad diet, low exercise and may require lifestyle changes, so keep an eye on it.
- Check cholesterol and Your Body Mass Index ( BMI): Men should have their cholesterol checked in their 30’s while women can wait until they turn 40. Men are at higher risk for high cholesterol because estrogen helps suppress cholesterol. However, family histories and genetically high cholesterol can throw this off for anyone, so getting it checked early can help prevent many healthy issues down the road. Once a women turns 40, estrogen levels start to go down, especially after menopause and cholesterol tests needs to be added then. Body Mass Index above 25, for men, can also indicate potential for diabetes and risk for heart disease, so try to keep that low. If yours is already high, go to the doctor.
- Eat Healthy: Most issues can be curbed or prevented with a healthy diet by simply adding fruits and vegetables to every meal. In general, American food culture emphasizes meat-centered dishes with starches and grains on the side. While whole grains are important, fruits and vegetables in higher percentages are better.
- Exercise: walk for 15 minutes every day rather than go to the gym for two hours once a week. The consistent movement will keep people active longer.
- Women wellness: Women should begin their Pap smear testing at age 30 if they haven’t already started earlier. Most women can get away with testing once every three years if no abnormalities are found and no family history dictates a need for more frequent tests. At age 40, mammograms get added to the mix, again provided family history or prior problems don’t dictate a need for more.
- Stress: Many medical problems, such as increased infection are enhanced by stress, which often comes from lifestyle changes. Those lifestyle changes, such as caring for elderly parents, can lead to poor eating habits, inconsistent sleep and ultimately increase weight gain and chance of contracting diabetes and becoming depressed. Putting a priority on exercise, hiring help, trying new routines and diet and seeing a therapist can do a lot to bring people back into a healthier place as they age.
What we should take away from this article? People between the ages of 30 to 45 are the years where it’s more important to learn healthy habits, establish a doctor and check in from time to time. Barring any family histories, genetics or incredibly bad habits, diet and exercise will keep most people in good shape into their golden years. Maintaining regular dental health with a dentist, visiting an eye doctor and having skin checked by a dermatologist will also make sure no other issues can creep up.