Give Yourself the Greatest Gift of All – Good Health

Dr. Clayton Lawrence, CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on overall wellness in an otherwise toxic world. (Always consult with your own physician before beginning any new diet/exercise routine).

With the holidays just around the corner, you’re likely getting into the spirit of giving. As you check friends and family off your Christmas list, don’t forget about one special person – YOU. We understand that this goes against everything we know about Christmas, which typically is to think of others, but this personal gift costs very little and doesn’t just come from the heart – it has a direct impact on it! This year, give yourself the gift of health. Visit your doctor, ask the right questions and reap the benefits all year long.

Check yourself off the Christmas list by scheduling your yearly physical today. Go with the following questions in mind that not only take care of some important health topics, but allow you to become more proactive in your wellness journey.

Get personal

If you’re seeing a doctor for the first time, don’t be afraid to ask about education, years in practice, views on various health topics and what his or her approach is when it comes to overall wellness. When a personal connection doesn’t exist between doctor and patient, it can start things off on the wrong foot. Don’t be afraid to share your opinion and ask for input. Does this doctor believe that lifestyle changes can have a big impact on overall health and wellness?? Is there a particular age group for which this particular doctor is recommended? How knowledgeable is the doctor and his or her staff on a health topic that is personal to you?

Am I OK to begin exercise or increase my level of activity?

All too often, patients don’t bring this question up to the doctor, but it’s so important to get a doctor’s OK to begin any sort of exercise routine. Once the annual physical has been completed, the doctor will be in a position to make a recommendation that is personal to your situation. In addition, it is important to go into a new routine with the proper tools should you need support, such as an inhaler for activity-induced asthma, or a monitor for those who should keep their heart rate to a certain number of beats per second.

How are my vitamin levels?

As part of your annual screening, many doctors will order a complete blood count (CBC), which will allow them to check for certain diseases and conditions, such as anemia, infection or cancer. If you have concerns about whether you are getting enough vitamins, request that your doctor also screen for D, magnesium, potassium, calcium and others that may be affecting your overall wellbeing. Lacking in any one of these vitamins or minerals can have a significant impact on your health.

When should I begin preventive screenings, like mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate exams?

You may not yet be at the recommended age, but your family history plays a significant role in when you should begin screening for certain diseases and conditions. If you have a mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 35 or a father whose colonoscopy discovered pre-cancerous polyps early on, discuss your concerns with your doctor and set an appropriate age to begin your own screening. Early detection is the key to overcoming a devastating diagnosis.