How many times have you suffered with a health issue and thought I really should see a Doctor about that, but because of the busy and hectic life you are leading you don’t manage to make that appointment? I know this feeling well and as a working parent there have been many occasions over the last four years that I have perhaps not taken my health as seriously as I should. We are all too busy running around looking after everyone else in our lives. Our children are our main focus, so we rarely have time to stop and think about ourselves.
It is obvious that your own health should be your priority, because if you are not mentally and physically fit to look after your own family then who will? In today’s society it is often the case that we no longer live near our immediate family. In my case both my parents live more than 100 miles away, so are not in a position to help if things go wrong. So now is the time to start looking at what you can do to improve your health. Why leave it to the New Year to start?
First of all, are there any outstanding tests or investigations that you have been putting off? Are you up to date with your cervical smear test? You should be having a test every three years. In my job as a Practice Nurse I perform numerous smears on a daily basis. One of the things I hear nearly every day is “I know I should have come sooner, I have been putting it off”. Please don’t put this test off, it really does just take a couple of minutes and it could save your life. So if you have had a letter recently reminding you your test is due, pick up the phone and book your appointment at your GP surgery today. For more information about cervical screening have a look at NHS Choices .
My next question to you is are you over forty? If so did you know that the NHS offers a free health check? This is something that not everyone seems to be aware of and doesn’t always take up. It is a check up of your overall health and it can tell you if you are more at risk of: heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke. First you need to attend your surgery to have blood tests taken and then you will be invited back to discuss the results. At the appointment you will also have your blood pressure and weight taken. This is usually done by the Practice Nurse or Health Care Assistant. Once completed it will be able to give you an overall picture of your health and the areas you need to improve upon.
You might wonder if having a health check actually makes any difference? The NHS latest research suggests that,
“For every 27 people having an NHS Health Check, one person is diagnosed with high blood pressure, for every 110 people having a Health Check, one person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and for every 265 people having a Health Check, one person is diagnosed with kidney disease”.
Getting this check done could be the first step to ensuring you get the correct treatment for a condition, that you might have otherwise not known you had.
Don’t forget about your mental health either. 1 in 4 people will have suffered with some sort of mental health problem in their lifetime. Stop for a second and think about how your mental health may be effecting your daily life?
- Are you eating, drinking or smoking too much?
- Are you short tempered with your children or partner?
- Do you lack energy or always feel tied or run down?
All of these things could be related to your mental health. Not all of us want to or need to go for counselling, but have you considered it? You will be able to get help via your GP. For more information about mental health see the Mind website .
Finally, I would like to draw to your attention to that health niggle that you might have had for some time. Whether it be the mole on your back that you have noticed has been getting bigger, or perhaps you have suffered with heart burn/acid indigestion for a long time or you have had a change in bowel habit, but have done nothing about it. Make the time now to speak to your GP. Our health is so precious and you should never under estimate the benefits of an early diagnosis.