Start the New Year Off Right with These Health Checks
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Avena
The New Year is here!
Now’s the time to get serious about your health goals. Regardless of which resolutions you made, optimizing brain and body is essential for kicking off the New Year…and for maintaining healthy habits throughout the year.
Even though we usually think of New Year’s resolutions in terms of improving diet and exercise, there’s a whole other area of wellness to consider. This year, be proactive by setting up health checks early in the New Year.
Which health checks should you schedule? Let’s look at a few options…
6 Important Health Checks to Schedule for the New Year
Everyone should get an annual physical with their doctor or healthcare practitioner. This physical usually includes a weigh-in and blood pressure check. Depending on the patient’s complaints, the healthcare provider can make lifestyle recommendations, prescribe or manage medications, and refer out to a specialist (such as a cardiologist, internist, GI specialist, etc.) if needed.
This annual visit can establish a baseline for the future. Conversely, if you don’t visit your healthcare practitioner every year, it may be more difficult to notice changes in blood pressure, cholesterol, or other important health factors.
An annual visit to the doctor’s office also may bring to light health concerns based on personal or family history and, perhaps, help to identify or prevent serious illness. Early diagnosis and prevention could have life-saving implications.
Depending on your age and health history, your healthcare practitioner may order blood work or other tests.
When was the last time you got your blood work done?
Here are some key tests your healthcare provider may order for you:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- General Metabolic Panel
- Hemoglobin A1c, or HbA1c
- Blood Lipids (Cholesterol and Triglycerides)
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- Homocysteine (HC)
- Ferritin Saturation (Iron Status)
Possible add-on tests:
- Omega-3 Index
- Vitamin D
- Thyroid Panel
Work with your physician or other qualified, nutritionally-informed healthcare provider, to determine which of these panels (or others, such as a hormone panel, which may include testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone for men and women) you should get with your next blood draw. They can help you understand the results and how to get them into a healthy a range (if they aren’t already).
Depending on your genetics and current state of health, you may need to have a blood draw more frequently than once a year in conjunction with your physical, as advised by your healthcare professional.
Oral health is extremely important to your overall health. You can’t have a healthy mouth without healthy gums and teeth.
If you have excessive plaque, a receding gumline, gingivitis, halitosis, tooth decay or tooth pain, it’s a good idea to make a dental appointment as soon as possible. If it’s been a while since you visited your dentist, X-rays and/or a deep cleaning may be recommended.
Insurance providers may cover all or a portion of the expenses associated with dental cleanings. Depending on your financial situation and the status of your oral health, a dentist may recommend periodontal maintenance every 3 or 6 months. If other dental services are required, such as an implant, crown, or root canal, insurance may pay a portion, but the patient is responsible for the co-pay.
The best way to ensure healthy gums is to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once daily. Remember, a brilliant smile begins with clean teeth and healthy gums!
Today, it’s typical for adults and kids to spend hours a day staring at computer screens or portable devices that are only a few inches away from their faces.
Prolonged screen sessions can create many eye-related issues including tired or dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. Spending too much time looking at screens also can cause digital eye strain. Some refer to this as computer vision syndrome, a condition where extended screen time can cause visual stress.
With our society’s ever-increasing dependence on technology, there are several practical ways to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of excessive screen time. One of the best ways is to make an annual vision appointment. Some insurance providers may cover a portion of the appointment as well as frames/lenses or contact lenses.
It’s estimated that 80% of people in the U.S. will experience back pain at some point in their lives.
Back pain may be related to issues with your spine. Many health problems may be traced to the spine since each region of the spine is linked to different organs or body systems.
If you’ve been experiencing back pain, seriously consider seeing a trained chiropractor or orthopedist.
A chiropractor can help correct spinal misalignments, which in turn may help relieve other bodily issues. If you’ve never been to a chiropractor, or if it’s been a while since you’ve had an adjustment, consider making an appointment to have a chiropractor evaluate, and adjust, your spine.
Here’s a health check that many people tend to forget about…but shouldn’t.
The skin is the body’s largest organ, occupying 22 square feet of the human body. Biologically, the skin is our body’s first line of defense and a protective outer layer to ward off infection and illness.
Skin, like every other part of the human body (including the brain), can be improved with deliberate care and attention. And like most other organs, improving the health of your skin requires a multi-pronged approach for best results.
One of the best ways to maintain skin health is to consult with a dermatologist. They may recommend an annual full-body skin check to identify any potential problems. Areas of concern may be biopsied or scooped depending on the severity.
If you’re currently struggling with skin issues, or are concerned with moles, skin tags, painful or odd-looking patches of skin, it’s strongly recommended that you set up an appointment with a dermatologist right away.
Healthy New Year!
These are just a few of the various health checks (gender-related and age-related health checks also may be recommended by your healthcare professional) you should schedule at the start of the New Year. Keep in mind that you don’t have to schedule them all during the same month. You can spread them out over several months as your schedule, and the healthcare provider’s calendar, allows.
It’s easy to forget these checkups, so scheduling them all at once, or marking them on your calendar, is a great way to make sure you stay on top of them.
Scheduling these important health checks can give you peace of mind and help to optimize your health in the New Year.
The BrainMD team wishes you and yours a safe healthy and happy New Year!
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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