Before writing this blog post, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Passover and/or a Happy Easter. If you don't celebrate either holiday, I hope that you're enjoying the weekend.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the wonderful people who write to me praising my blog posts and my blog. Although it's impossible for me to thank you all, individually, I read all of your comments and I appreciate them more than I could ever express.
Be Proactive About Your Health
The one thing that is more important than your family, your friends, your work, and your pets is your health. Although many of us don't give enough thought to our health, without good health, we risk suffering from various disabilities and even a shorter life. There are people who are afraid to go to doctors and others who pride themselves on never going to a doctor. These people are taking unnecessary risks as, frequently, what could become a very serious issue, if left unchecked, can be, for all intents and purposes, a non-issue if found and treated early. If you are proactive about going to an internist and whatever other doctors you need to go to, i.e., eye doctor, gynecologist, dermatologist, etc., and taking the appropriate tests for someone your age and with your familial health risks, I assure you that, most of the time, you can avoid a serious illness and/or an untimely health-related death.
There are many diseases that don't present with symptoms until they're at an advanced stage and that is why it's important to go to an internist, at least, once a year and to have your blood and urine tested, at least, once a year. Just because you feel fine, you shouldn't assume that you ARE fine.
My purpose in writing this blog post isn't too frighten you: it's to get you to be more proactive about your health.
Recently, I had a mild bout of vertigo. I didn't think much of it because I was only experiencing it once a day, for less than a minute, upon getting up from bed. I had the vertigo for a week before mentioning it to my internist. When I told her about it, she got me an appointment with a neurologist for that very afternoon! Although vertigo is, typically, caused by a minor ear issue, it can be a symptom of a stroke, a TIA, or a brain tumor. It took six days for me to complete the various tests that the neurologist wanted me to have. As it turned out, thankfully, my vertigo was from a minor ear issue. Although that is, typically, the case, based on what I read, if I had had a TIA or a stroke, I would have had to be put on a blood thinning medication, immediately, to prevent a stroke or another stroke. I understand that internists sometimes rush patients to specialists to protect themselves, legally, however, in the process, they're also protecting their patients. I always prefer having an unusual symptom, like vertigo, checked out, thoroughly, than to be dismissive of it and think that I'm probably fine.
One of my friends misinterpreted my reasons for being proactive about my health: he thinks that I'm hoping to have a serious illness. My friend doesn't seem to understand that I'm proactive about my health because I don't take my good health for granted; I want to ensure that, if I have the misfortune of getting something serious, it will be caught early enough to be treated and cured; and I want to do everything in my power to avoid getting something serious.
Being proactive about your health also includes eating healthily, getting enough sleep, exercising and socializing. It doesn't include smoking, excessive drinking, taking illegal drugs, and/or not protecting yourself from sexually-transmitted diseases.
I'm not telling you anything, here, that you don't already know. I'm just trying to emphasize that, although you're not responsible for the genes that you inherited, you ARE responsible for taking good care of your health.