An annual physical is critical to maintaining good health, said Dr. Clay Campbell of Lakeside North Family Medicine. And physicals really need to start a little earlier in life than you might think.
“Once you get to the age of 30, it’s real important to get that general wellness check with an established local doctor," Dr. Campbell said. “You need that relationship with a doctor for general maintenance even if you don’t have a family history of something significant like heart disease.”
He said most insurance plans will cover one general wellness check a year.
“We’re going to check your blood pressure, your body mass index and do some basic blood work to rule out some early issues.”
He said it’s important to try to watch your weight from a young age. Weight can be a great predictor of future health issues including diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and cardiac disease.
“We are seeing a tremendous increase in diabetes at much younger ages, even the teen years, and most of it is due to increased weight,” Dr. Campbell said.
If you need to drop some weight, Dr. Campbell recommends watching your carbohydrate intake.
“Simple carbs are digested quickly and go immediately to your bloodstream as glucose,” he said. “It takes proteins and complex carbs much longer to digest. It’s better fuel and you can actually lose weight while you’re digesting them.”
He said it’s also very important for people to stay hydrated with plenty of water.
“I tell my patients that whatever diet they use, it needs to be something they can stick to, more of a lifestyle change than a diet, and to manage their carb intake,” Dr. Campbell said. “It needs to be a program you can continue throughout your life.”
A topic no one likes to discuss, colon screenings, are also critical to good health.
“They’ve dropped the age back to 45,” he said. “My practice in the last couple of years has picked up three different colon cancers in asymptomatic patients through simple screenings. Colon cancer is much more easily treated if you pick it up early before it spreads.”
Men want a PSA prostate screening beginning at age 45. Women need to make sure they are getting annual mammograms starting at age 40.
“So many things can be caught early if you’re getting your annual wellness check-ups,” Dr. Campbell said. “It’s so much easier for us to try to prevent a problem than cure a problem.”
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