Just thinking about that old pediatrician’s office makes my mouth dry and my stomach tighten.
Growing up, I was never a fan of going to the doctor.
Mostly because of one reason… needles.
Needles were not my friend and I would scream and cry each time one made an appearance at my appointments. Heck, I might scream and cry in advance, just in case.
Today, I’ve learned to tolerate needles and no longer dread seeing a doctor.
That’s not to say that I love going. Does anyone?
But I know to keep my body strong, seeing a doctor from time to time is important.
And, one reason to go is for certain tests, to make sure everything is in working order.
This is especially important for us older folks, as our bodies are changing.
Being aware of what’s going on inside can help ensure we continue to thrive.
At my annual exam, my doc always runs a CBC (complete blood count) to make sure the cells in my blood are looking good.
This type of test is important because it can show nutritional deficiencies, inflammation in your tissues, an infection, and other health conditions.
In addition to the CBC, I also get a lipid test to measure my cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
As we get older, cholesterol and triglycerides have a tendency to rise, so I want to be sure my levels stay in the “healthy” range.
And, I always have my doctor check my vitamin D levels.
This is vitally important if you’re over 50, as most Americans are deficient in this critical vitamin. I’m typically good because I supplement, and I now live in the “Sunshine State.” But I like to know for sure.
Not every doctor tests for vitamin D. If yours doesn’t, you might have to ask for it specifically.
Beyond the blood checks, there are other tests I undergo.
Each year I get a skin check. Now that I’m getting more sun, I don’t want any surprises.
And every couple of years, I get my hearing checked.
Hearing loss is often a natural part of aging.
A decline in hearing was one of the first things I noticed with my mom as she got older.
When we’d visit, she’d have the TV turned up so loud I could swear the neighbors could hear it next door.
Thankfully, I haven’t experienced any hearing loss yet, although Karen may disagree. She says I have selective hearing.
I see my dentist twice a year for regular cleanings.
When I was in my late 40s, my dentist added an annual periodontal exam during one of my visits.
I get an X-ray of my jaw and he checks my mouth, teeth, gums and throat for signs of problems.
Dental health is closely associated with the health of other areas in your body… particularly your heart.
Plaque can build up quickly with age.
And, many older folks take medications that can have a negative impact on dental health.
Be sure you’re seeing your dentist regularly to make sure your mouth stays healthy.
Now, these are just the tests I get regularly.
Depending on what’s going on with you and your body, you may need others.
It’s important to pay attention to any changes you’re experiencing, and be sure to alert your doctor to those changes to get them checked out.
I don’t like to be prodded and poked any more than the next guy.
But sometimes you have to do things that are a little uncomfortable for the greater good.
Be sure your doctor is running the tests you need to live your most vibrant life.