Because sometimes healthier living means consulting a professional:

30 Mar

Flowers my Hannah gave me for my birthday!

I took (or should I say dragged) myself to the doctor yesterday because for the past month or so, my energy and strength have been waning and I’ve dropped a few pounds for seemingly no reason. When I could barely complete an exercise routine, I decided it was time to have some tests run.

I, like many people, hate going to a doctor. They’re generally not personable, they usually seem too busy for you, and they almost always give you a pat answer for any concern. Still, there are legitimate reasons that you need to force yourself to seek professional help. Here are some things I have learned warrant a visit to a medical professional:

First off, and probably the most obvious, recurring pain. Do I need to go on? Most people don’t need to be talked into seeing a professional when they hurt. Pain is your body’s way of giving you a warning that you can’t continue something or you need to take it easy. I know, it should just leave you a post-it note.

Sleeplessness, exhaustion, inability to focus, or dizziness/disorientation. If you suffer from any of these on a relatively frequent basis, go see someone. Your body is probably telling you that you’re not giving it what it needs but there’s also a chance that you aren’t coping well with some change in the way you live. Your doctor can tell you if you need to see a mental health expert and/or run tests to find any problems.

Severe and/or painful anxiety, panic, or some other pain related to stress. These things can actually injure your heart with time and you may need medication or help from a mental health professional. Sometimes these things can be linked to unlikely sources like dietary needs so don’t try to fix it on your own or let it get out of hand.

Unexplained weight loss or gain: It’s not unusual for women to fluctuate in their weights but pay attention to how your body usually works and be aware if something isn’t normal. There a few conditions women are especially susceptible that can explain big weight changes and they’re all worth treating or correcting.

Digestive issues: If you have pain or irritation or any other ugly symptoms that are persistent, it never hurts to ask about it, even if it is embarrassing.

It’s just as important to periodically check your lifestyle with a professional. I visited a nutritionist last year to be sure I was eating right and turns out, I wasn’t! I went to a counselor a few times just to talk about my concerns with my anxiety levels and ability to hold long, long grudges. I got a personal trainer to teach me healthy running habits and went to a spa a few times to have a therapeutic massage. It’s nice to treat yourself and let other people show you how to be healthier and happier.

Above all, don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking a problem is nothing. It never hurts to ask and if you’re really bothered by something, make sure you have it looked it and tested, even if your doctor insists there’s nothing wrong. You have to live with it, so don’t leave until you’re satisfied. Demand examination and if you have to, request a second opinion. Doctors aren’t usually trying to be jerks but the truth is, they see so many generic problems that they’re sometimes too quick to label something. If something doesn’t make sense to you, ask for more information or even do your own research.

Here are some questions you might want to ask on your next visit:

What would be the ideal weight for me and how do you recommend that I reach that goal? The upside for losing weight is fairly obvious but actually, being under-weight can be just as unhealthy as being over-weight. Not weighing enough can make you much more susceptible to disease and injury. When I kept hurting my back, my doctor said gaining a few pounds in muscle around the area would really help protect it. So make sure you know and are comfortable with your ideal weight.

How is my blood pressure? What do those numbers mean? This is a big one for both men and women and most people don’t understand the measurements for it. Your doctor won’t always go out of his/her way to tell you that your vitals are a little low or high so be sure you pay attention to it yourself.

How can I avoid the flu or a cold? Most people know the simple ways you can prevent them but your doctor may be able to recommend certain vitamins or techniques for boosting your immune system.

How much exercise should I be getting? There are a lot of competing numbers for how many days or hours you should exercise every week. If you don’t have a schedule that works for you already, talk with your doctor about your concerns and needs and he/she should be able to tell you what they recommend to meet your goals. They may also be able to give tips on which types of exercise will help you most. Did you know that yoga helps with circulation and bone alignment? Pilates is actually great for people with asthma because it works to cleanse the lungs.Your doctor probably knows these things.

Mention any dietary concerns. Are you looking for a good multi-vitamin? Do you feel like some changes in your diet could help with energy? Ask away about what meal plans could make your lifestyle easier.

That’s all I’ve got for today. You guys can share your own tips and experiences in the comments, if you like. I’m going to take a little rest but I’ll pick up with the final result of my bookcase efforts on Friday. 🙂

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2 Responses to “Because sometimes healthier living means consulting a professional:”

  1. Hannah March 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    first off i love those flowers! im so glad they bloomed!! :DD

    those are all def good things! at the hospital we try to teach the patients to be their own advocate and not constantly have us as the go-between. noone will look out for you but you.
    blood pressure is a huge huge thing because hypertension can lead to all sorts of crazy things in people and is one of the most important things to keep track of. especially because 120/80 has always been the golden rule, but now theyre saying keep it BELOW even that, because now 120/80 is considered prehypertension.
    also is cholesterol levels. they need to stay below 100 because it took can lead to lots of longterm health problems. ie: renal failure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes.

    another huge huge thing is telling the doctor every single med you are on — over the counter, herbals, and prescription because it can overlap and interact with everything.
    and the biggest biggest thing is family history!! also let him know if your family member (anyone in the family, not just immediate) has diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, etc. etc. what age they wer,e if they died from it etc. because when you come in for some minor ache and pain, it could save your life if the dr knows that that foot swelling and your grandma with diabetes, he can do further tests to see if youre having pre-symptoms of it and catch it in the infancy stages.

    • Intrepid Girl March 30, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

      Indeed to the family history note. I’ve been treated by several doctors and I’m not the best for having my records transferred when I move. My current doctor doesn’t have a single thing on my history…which I’m working on now.

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