young women in doctor office

Importance of health screenings in disease prevention

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A positive look at testing

By Erica L. Green, MA2, LPC, MPH, CADC

You are not alone, but maybe you feel you are.  You have your mental list of priorities for the day, but for some reason that cholesterol screening didn’t make the list -again. Why?  It’s a hassle, right? We have to take the time out of our day, which is a huge feat in itself. Then, when we arrive we must get poked and prodded.  The truth is it’s not just cholesterol.  Any health screening, from the 6-month dental check-up, to that breast self-exam that you do not even need to leave your home to do, yet you still don’t.   Maybe it is fear of change or the unknown.  So what are some ways to make doctor visits more lovable?  Yes, lovable.  Ok, how about likable?

Pursuit of happiness -When it comes down to it, we all want to be happy and one way that many define happiness is our health.  Some say if we did not have our health, we could not enjoy everything else.  I work in an emergency room, and I experience the extremes of life and death every shift.  Health research suggests that many ER visits could have been prevented.  Whether it is chronic disease, mental illness, or accidents, many crises could have been avoided by wellness and screening appointments.  Preventive screenings can help us feel much healthier and happier long-term.

Level with your provider -The clinics may be busy.  Your provider may seem distracted, but there are ways to make the situation feel more comfortable for you.  First off, make a list before you arrive.  Think of everything you would like to discuss including the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Did I mention the good, too?  This way, when you arrive you have your list ready no matter the flow of the exam.  And you can also discuss what is going well for you -a pat on the back of sorts. Secondly, I would also encourage asking your provider for honest suggestions. I find that whether I am in the ER or in the psychotherapy office, some patients just are not ready to change.  The provider may make a different recommendation for one who expects a quick fix and someone who understands that they must change their lifestyle.

Ok.  I am not sure if I have won you over to loving your health screenings, but maybe the benefits are a little clearer.  The wonderful thing about being a WellPledge member is that questions, comments, fears, and successes can be shared with your coach. Through WellPledge, you have access to health care practitioners.  Do you still need health screenings?  Yes, and WellPledge is a way to keep you on track and motivated. There is less pain and financial costs when we can prevent or catch things early.  ER visits can cost thousands of dollars.  Screening are much cheaper and often free.

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