Every year like clockwork, I make sure to get an exam. My family has a history of certain diseases and mother died of cancer in October 2000. Even when I didn’t have employer-sponsored insurance, I still made sure to get annuals and check-ups.
But as I get older, I realize a lot of my peers and some of my family members don’t get regular check-ups let alone have a general practitioner. For a few years after my mom died, my brother wouldn’t get the suggested colonoscopy since he was within that 10-year window for risk. We talked about it and while I respect his decision, I told him I didn’t like it. Along the lines of Ife’s post, I know most, if not all, of us engaged in unprotected sex at some point. I don’t know how often we get tested for HIV or even STDs without having symptoms. There are some diseases that don’t have symptoms, however, a good family doctor would test for them anyway as part of a comprehensive physical. Our family has a history of obesity, heart disease, various cancers, and diabetes. While I understand some of it is genetically determined, a lot can be prevented through better lifestyle choices.
I’ve tried to stress the importance of a healthy lifestyle to my kids by staying active at the gym and making healthy food choices. I make sure that they get their annual physicals and see the dentist every six months. I want them to understand that all their body systems are connected and a headache may be a sign of something else. Not only that, I want them to understand that physical ailments may be a sign of something else going on in their lives.
After reading the post, I’m going to make an effort to try to get more of my friends and family to get regular check-ups, consider making healthier food choices and get moving. If not for themselves, for their children and grandchildren.