Saturday, May 5, 2012

How to Measure Your Overall Health Condition

I'm excited to have this great guest post about How to Measure Your Overall Health Condition.

The key to measuring and maintaining your overall health condition is an annual physical examination. Ideally, your annual checkup will be performed by a physician who is familiar with you, your previous test results and your family history. In addition to a physical examination, certain tests and screenings may be ordered as needed. Here’s what you need to know about your next check up!

1. Family History
It is very important to give your doctor an accurate and detailed family history. This helps to determine which tests and screenings should be done on a regular basis. If you have a family history of a certain health problem, your physician will be more thorough with questions about symptoms, the physical examination and screenings.

2. Screening Tests
Your age, sex and symptoms determine which screening tests you should have. If you are overweight, you will probably be tested for diabetes, especially as you get older. High blood pressure, coupled with shortness of breath, suggests that you should be tested for heart disease. Yearly mammography is recommended for women at the age of 40; earlier for women with a strong family history of breast cancer. Since colon cancer is very treatable in its early stages, a colonoscopy is recommended for anyone 55 and older. Your doctor will determine which tests are needed, based on your physical examination, overall health status, symptoms, family history, age and sex.

3. Healthy Weight
Obesity contributes to a host of medical problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Certain cancers have a higher incidence in an overweight person. Obesity is also a factor in the development and pain of arthritis of the knee or hip. In order to lose pounds and maintain weight loss, you need to be very motivated. There are a number of options that your physician can discuss with you, including diet, exercise, medication and surgery. If (s)he is not an expert on diet strategies, they may refer you to a dietitian or a diet psychologist. If you can find a group to work with, this often offers encouragement and helps maintain motivation.

4. Active Lifestyle
It is never too soon or too late to start an exercise program. Adults should schedule at least thirty minutes of aerobic exercise every day. It can be as simple as walking, or as complex as hiring a personal trainer and working out at the gym. Just be sure that it’s something you enjoy and something that gets your heart pumping. Studies show that regular exercise slows the aging process and development of disease. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program though.

5. Mental Status
Your mental outlook has an influence on your health. If you are depressed, or have a lot of negative thoughts, you need to tell your doctor. He may prescribe medication, but seeing a therapist might be a better long-term solution. Actively seek help if it is needed.
Dr. Andrew Weil has written a number of books on health and healing. He believes that a person can discover and enhance the body’s natural ability to maintain and heal itself. He emphasizes diet, exercise, mental health, and some complementary and alternative therapies. The Mayo Clinic’s comprehensive website also discusses complementary medicine to maintain health.

Kyle Fordham writes about health, family finance &

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