Wellness

Wellness is a popular topic – it encompasses several areas ranging from physical, emotional, and mental contexts. Regular wellness checks are key to catching changes in one’s health and situation sooner rather than later, and they allow people to have an idea of what aspects of their health may need intervention or closer monitoring.

For all genders and sexes, there are certain areas that should be assessed regularly. Standard lab work including complete blood count, a basic metabolic panel, and hormone levels should be a part of regular wellness checks. These days, the lab work doesn’t even require a trip to the doctor’s office – many companies offer conveniences such as vitamin D home test kits to give individuals greater freedom over when and where they test their health. Even mobile services are available to have healthcare workers come to your home to draw blood for lab work.

For those born as women, regular checks of hormone levels are important to ensure reproductive functionality is sufficient, and to monitor for changes that may indicate menopause, illness, or dysfunction. Hormones play key roles in health factors such as bone density – the sooner deficiencies are found, the easier it is to prevent further decline and health risks. Pap smears are also an important part of women’s wellness assessments to screen for cervical cancer, just as breast exams and mammograms will help monitor for early signs of breast cancer. Women’s health tests may include hormone levels like estrogen and progesterone, as well as thyroid levels – while men can also have thyroid conditions, they tend to be more common in females.

People born as men will also have some unique areas that will need to be monitored. Testosterone is a key hormone in function of men’s reproductive organs as well as affects body mass and bone density. Men should also perform regular checks of the testes for abnormalities and after age 45 or 50, will begin to have prostate checks to note any changes in shape as part of monitoring for cancer depending on their risk category.

Wellness

Checkups

Annual checkups with your primary care provider are an important part of your wellness plan, but access to other services such as mental wellness screenings with credentialed therapists and counselors can also be beneficial. Your mental and emotional state play a role in your physical well-being, and you may not even be aware of how you’re being impacted. Often, these professionals can help identify areas where you need intervention such as stress management or counseling services. Being able to meet with someone who can provide you with those tools will help to address the non-physical areas of your health to improve outlook, emotional state, and the ability to manage the strains of life that take a toll on the physical body.

Individual wellness checks should account for specific personal and family history risk factors. For example, those with a family history of certain cancers should consider earlier or more frequent screenings for those specific conditions. In some cases, pre-emptive genetic testing can be done to see if there is increased risk for developing certain cancers. If existing medical conditions place someone at higher risk of something such as hypertension, or high blood pressure, regular monitoring of those numbers is important as well.

No matter your history, wellness is important to ensuring an overall healthy body, life, and mind. Planning for regular wellness checks and creating a schedule can help you stay consistent with these tasks so that they don’t fall to the wayside when life gets busy. One strategy is that as you complete an appointment, say for a mammogram, go ahead and schedule the next one before you leave – like you would for a dental cleaning. Putting reminders in your calendar at regular intervals for lab work or other screenings is another way to stay on top of it.

Consistency

Consistent wellness checks will help guide you to focus on areas of your health that may need a little extra attention. For example, if your labs show low vitamin D levels, your doctor may recommend taking a supplement to prevent long term risks associated with that. If your blood pressure starts trending higher, it may guide you to examine your diet, activity, and stress levels to see if anything has changed so that you can counteract those effects. Had you not been monitoring your wellness, those developments could easily be missed.

While it sometimes seems inconvenient, having the option for things like at-home lab work, combining appointments, and virtual visits with some providers lends some flexibility in keeping up with wellness. In the end, a bit of inconvenience now to keep an eye on your health can outweigh missing something major down the road!

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