(WXIN) — You may have heard the phrase “health is wealth,” and this week doctors across the country are hoping you know just how true that is.
This week is “primary care week,” when doctors focus on ways to improve care while emphasizing just how important having a good relationship with your primary care doctor is.
At some point, many of us can be guilty of the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality when it comes to seeing the doctor. However, health professionals over at Hancock Health (https://www.hancockhealth.org/) say making sure “it doesn’t break,” can help you avoid costly and potentially devastating outcomes.
“Let’s just address it and try to make a difference for you,” Dr. Meg Fitzsimmons said.
Fitzsimmons says it’s important to pay a visit to your doctor at least once a year for a physical, ideally when you’re not experiencing any symptoms. That way, conditions that can be devastating can be potentially flagged by someone who really knows you and your risk factors before symptoms emerge.
“We do screening tests for breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol. A lot of these conditions don’t cause any symptoms initially. And people don’t have any warning signs, so it’s always best to find these things out first before symptoms occur,” she said.
Fitzsimmons points out that a lot of people may be concerned about the cost of screening tests. But says it’s always more costly if you wait until something is wrong. Outcomes are generally better if you catch anything early as well. While speaking with FOX59, Fitzsimmons issued a special warning for women.
“Whereas I think most women are more concerned and afraid of breast cancer, really heart diseases. The thing that is more likely to cause issues. So, there’s so many things that we can do,” she added. “We can’t change your family history, which is a factor, but we can change lifestyle like tobacco smoke, we can help you quit smoking, we can do something about diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, maybe excessive alcohol use, sedentary lifestyle. So, there are a lot of behavioral modification vacations that make a really big difference.”
Bottom line: no matter who you are, Fitzsimmons says it’s always important to think about regular consultations with your primary care physician, having a physical every year, and knowing your family history.
She also adds that it is important to be honest with your doctor about any habits you have like smoking or drinking, and have open and honest conversations about things like any weight issues or mental health issues as well.