If you could add more years to your life, would you? More time to pursue your dreams. More time with family and friends. More time to change the world. More time to enjoy life. Sound good? Learn how….
My father never liked going to the doctor. He just wasn’t a big fan. Not uncommon, really, for his generation. But after dealing with pain throughout his body for years and then urinating blood, he finally gave in and scheduled an appointment. Because of his symptoms, he was referred to a Urologist. The news he received couldn’t have been any worse – advanced prostate cancer. It had metastasized, so it was everywhere. He went to Chicago for a second opinion, and they told him he probably had about nine months to live. Talk about a bad day.
As you can imagine, the whole family was shocked with the news. There are many thoughts that swirl around in your head when you hear this type of news. One of them is, “If only I had…” These words are very important for you right now because you don’t want to live with regrets, especially if you have the power right now to prevent them.
It starts with you and your family being proactive about adding these five health screenings to your family’s regular action items.
Your blood pressure can serve as an early warning system for all kinds of ailments, including heart disease, kidney disease, and strokes. Blood pressure is something you want to have checked regularly (I do it annually) because it doesn’t usually change suddenly. Instead, you’ll typically see a general upward trend. If you don’t get it checked often enough, you’ll miss the signs.
This test can be done as part of routine bloodwork. It’s an important one because high cholesterol puts you at increased risk for heart disease, and men are at higher risk for heart disease than women. There are other associated conditions that make it even more important to check your cholesterol. If you’re a smoker or have diabetes, make sure checking your cholesterol levels is a high priority on your calendar.
Many of my readers are outdoorsy types. They get a lot of sun, and many are not as disciplined as they should be at applying sunscreen. Talk to my friend El about his bout with skin cancer and you will take it much more seriously. Keep a close eye on moles and other discolorations on your skin. If you notice that one has changed size or color, have the doctor take a look. Skin cancer is much easier to treat if caught early.
If my story about my father didn’t get your attention, consider this, men with a first-degree relative (brother or father) that had prostate cancer are two-and-a-half times more likely to develop the disease. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men after skin cancer. Like any form of cancer, early detection improves your odds, so don’t wait.
Cervical and Breast Cancer
Likewise, it is important that every woman make cervical cancer screenings a priority. Women ages 21-29 should have a pap smear done every 3 years. From ages 31-60, women should have a pap smear and an HPV test done every 5 years. For women over 40, they should get a mammogram done at least once every two years, if not annually.
Sometimes, we minimize the importance of health screenings, especially if we are feeling okay at the time. But when we ignore our health, we run the risk of finding out about a serious issue when it’s far too late to do anything about it. This was, in large part, what happened with my father. Remember, getting routine checkups and monitoring your health is a gift to yourself and your family. Your loved ones will thank you!
Your Virtual Life Mentor,