July 12th, 2008
Going to the doctor or dentist isn’t just frightening for some people, it can bring on a full-on anxiety or panic attack. Needles and drills are definitely scary, but finding out that something is really wrong with your health or that you’ll need an expensive procedure done can turn your whole day-to-day routine upside down and give you a new, unwelcome perspective on your ability to take care of yourself or even of your own mortality. But staying ignorant until you drop dead isn’t exactly a blissful way to live either. For the sake of your quality of life and for your family and friends who care about you, you need to visit the doctor periodically, so that you can catch little problems before they manifest themselves as virtual homewreckers and financial disasters. Nobody’s perfect, but doctors aren’t around to make us feel bad about ourselves — we visit them so that they can give us helpful guidelines for living healthy, full lives.
Adults should visit the doctor at least once a year for a check-up. Women should go for women’s wellness exams, which include pap smears and breast exams, and other preventive tests. Visiting the doctor once a year also helps open the communication lines between you and your physician, and makes it easy for him or her to track your medical history and see any abnormalities or red flags as you come back each year. It’s also important for men to visit the doctor each year to monitor stress levels, weight management, heart health and blood pressure, and disease prevention tactics.
Visiting the dentist every six months is generally a standard guideline for taking care of your oral health. Get a teeth cleaning and let the dentist exam your teeth for any cavities or decay. You may not have to get an X-ray each visit, but getting one once per year is a good idea, as your dentist will be able to spot tiny cavities and cavities in hard-to-see places early on. And the sooner you catch a cavity, the cheaper and less painful it will be to fix.
If you’re still in college, start visiting your health care center once a year, or ask your parents to schedule an appointment for you when you go home for breaks. And after you graduate college, make time — and room in your budget if your health insurance plan is lacking — for a couple of annual or bi-annual visits with the professionals who want to help you live a healthy, long life.
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