Health

10 Doctor Appointments You Should Make (But Probably Don’t)

Okay, okay, so you're not even sick. You're as strong as a horse and you make sure that you eat an apple a day just to keep the doctor away, but as everyone knows prevention is better than cure. So instead of waiting for something bad to happen, take your health into your own hands and take note of all of the doctor appointments you should make.

 

Primary Care Physician

general practitioner

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At least once a year you should take the time to see a primary care physician, like your general family doctor or someone trained in internal medicine. This is for a general check up including a physical exam and questions about your health and lifestyle. Your primary care physician will have access to your medical history, assessing risks and looking out for any changes that might need attention. If necessary, they can request particular tests or exams and can refer you to a specialist.

This visit should also include a blood test to screen for other underlying issues, from vitamin deficiency to gastritis, diabetes and even cancer. It is much better to get tested by a professional, instead of looking up your symptoms on Web MD and causing yourself unnecessary stress and trouble.

 

Gynecologist

gynecologist visit

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From the age of 21, it is recommended that women should visit a gynecologist every 1-3 years, regardless of whether they are sexually active or not. During a routine check-up, you'll get a pap smear, clinical breast exam and pelvic exam. When conducting a breast exam the OB-GYN will check for unusual growths, textures, and discoloration. The pelvic exam consists of searching for signs of growth, infections, and abnormalities within the reproductive organs.

If you have a new sexual partner (or partners) you should have regular STD tests and Pap smears. An HPV test is not necessarily included in a Pap smear, so be sure to ask your gynecologist to perform an HPV test along with the regular check for abnormal cervical cells.

 

Optometrist

eye exam

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Just over half of all Americans with eye problems are women and as a result, it is highly recommended that your optometrist, ophthalmologist or eye doctor should be visited at least every two years. Although, if you have a family history or suffer from poor eye health, then you may have to visit annually.

In general, your optometrist will perform an eye exam to determine whether you need glasses. If you already wear glasses or contact lenses, an eye exam will keep your prescription up to date. With many eye diseases developing after the age of 40, it has been suggested that early testing for glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy in your twenties may be one of the best preventative measures.

 

Radiologist

breast exam

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Breast cancer is the main cause of cancer-related deaths in women between the ages of twenty and sixty, so just being aware of your breast health could make all of the difference. The United States' Preventive Services Task Force advises annual mammograms once you hit forty, however, you should schedule yearly appointments, regardless of your age, if you have a family history of cancer.

Breast cancer, although prevalent, has a five-year survival rate of 93% - 100% when discovered at, or before stage two. The thing is, there is a much higher risk to women who have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. These risks can be discovered via gene testing, but there's no reason to worry about that unless you or a family member has a history of cancer.

 

Dentist

dentist visit

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You would be surprised by the number of people with an unnatural phobia to going to the dentist. Whether it's the drill, the chair or that weird pink stuff they keep making you spit, dentists tend to be the healthcare professionals that more people are actively trying to avoid. It's a funny sort of irony, everyone wants pearly whites, but they're too scared to keep their mouths in check.

Unbeknownst to most, good oral health can be extremely beneficial for overall health. For instance, did you know that gum disease in pregnancy can lead to premature births?

Sometimes even trying to register with a dentist is a pain, however, once you are a patient, every six months you should schedule an oral exam and cleaning. The Mayo Clinic suggests that oral health may have an effect on a variety of issues including osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease.

 

Dermatologist

dermatologist

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There are plenty of reasons to see a dermatologist. The skin is the largest organ in the entire body and as such deserves more care than you are currently giving it. An annual checkup is recommended if skin cancer runs in the family or if you happen to have a fair complexion. Explains why Snow White stayed inside cleaning most of the time if she was as pale as the Brothers' Grimm said she was.

A skin cancer screening is performed by your dermatologist, they inspect your body for irregular moles, spots, and lesions.

If you suffer from periodic rashes, acne, or dermatitis, it may be time to schedule a visit with your dermatologist.

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The information on this site is my personal opinion and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease or ailment. Always seek a medical professional when in doubt, only a health care professional can advise you on your specific situation.

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