I completely understand how hard it can be to keep up with all of the recommended preventative screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies. For the most part, the LAST thing I want to do is schedule another doctor’s appointment for me or my family, especially if no one is in immediate pain. If you are living with or caring for someone with a chronic digestive disorder, I know you can relate. There are already so many tests that come with digestive disease, it may sometimes seem impossible to add on tests that have nothing to do with the immediate problem at hand.
One thing that helps me when I am searching for motivation to schedule regular health screenings, is that I try to remember the following: According to the Centers for Disease Control, the top three leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, and stroke. To put it another way, we all have more than a 60 percent chance of dying of one of these three things. The good news here is that keeping up with a few basic screenings can make a huge amount of difference in our overall health.
You may already have a list of suggested regular screenings from your general practitioner or your insurance provider. There are also suggested schedules provided on the internet by organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control. If you are starting from scratch in trying to determine which screenings you need and when you need them, one the friendliest places to begin may be a site provided by the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/health-screening/WO00112). On this site, you can quickly put in your gender and age, and within seconds the site provides you with health screening guidelines. As an example, for a 45 year old female, the site recommends a blood pressure reading every two years, a mammogram every one to two years, a pap smear every three years, a cholesterol check every five years, and a check for colon cancer at age 50 (earlier if you have IBD). Of course this is only a starting place, and your own health care provider can help further customize your required screenings based on your existing health issues, your health history, and your family’s health history.
The information in this SharePost is important whether you are living with or caring for someone with digestive disease. Even though going to one more appointment may seem impossible, preventative screenings can be a well deserved gift to you and your family.
Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. Learn more about Tracy and what healthy living services and products she can offer on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.