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When to get your annual!

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Does that strike you as a strange statement?  Well, it should!  Possibly a better question would be, “why do we need annual exams”? what is the point?

Let’s start with why annual exams are recommended in the first place.  The research doesn’t really support annual exams as a way to pick up early disease markers but, physicians almost universally seem to want to have their patients come in for these yearly rituals.   The basic idea is that annual exams are there to pick up any changes that might be cause for concern.  Annuals are also opportunities for you to chat with your physician and discuss with them your own concerns and what is going on in your life that might affect your health and wellbeing.

If we look at the reality of a doctor’s office today this “chat” may be much closer to a “romantic” thought than reality.  The current state of our socialized health-care system make these “chats” next to impossible.

“It is very well known that having a strong and trusting doctor-patient relationship is essential to getting best outcomes in health care,” says Dr. Allan Goroll, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.  – Time Health Jan 2018

How well do you know your physician, for many in this country they don’t have a “physician.  They are lucky if they have a regular clinic that they go to.  And getting an appointment is often either sitting in a walk-in clinic waiting room or waiting weeks before getting in.  This makes the reality of a “trusting doctor-patient relationship” more than challenging.   Couple this with the lack of time and pressures to produce (in my personal experience) physicians respond to the vast majority of concerns/ailments their patients bring to them with pharmaceuticals.  The thought then of improving health outcomes with that relationship becomes harder to attain when we couple that with:

“More than one-third of U.S. adults are taking prescription medications that may lead to depression, new research finds. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, warns that depression is a potential side effect of more than 200 commonly prescribed medications, including beta blockers for blood pressure, birth control pills, antacids, and painkillers. https://sharpbrains.com/blog/2018/06/15/when-healthcare-ignores-mental-health-200-common-prescription-medications-increase-depression-risk/

This comment targets mental health however, many prescriptions also decrease your libido! Now there’s a combination – depression and low sex drive!  No wonder we’re no fun!

What are you to do? 

The most effective response to this situation is for YOU to become your own best advocate.  After all, you are the one who inhabits your body. And yet how well do you know it?  How well do you listen to your body, AND heed it?

Many of us are disassociated, even fearful of our own precious bodies and natural processes. That dissociation typically, starts early and endures throughout life. Even though the cultural norm encompasses an obsession with the body’s appearance, few people know much about the body’s workings. When was the concept of innate bodily knowledge or wisdom ever taught?

To inhabit your body means to be aware of it; to listen to and learn from its constant feedback; to accept and feel all things, whether pain or pleasure, happiness or grief; and to speak about yourself as if you were a whole being, especially when some “part” of you is in pain. The only way to find out what your body needs is to inhabit it.

Do you feel as if you live outside and a little bit behind, or a few inches in front of, yourself, but not squarely aligned?   Rushing ahead, lagging behind, listening to others instead of yourself, or saying yes when you mean no.  In these and thousands of other ways you resign from yourself. Real health and wellness is about “coming home”, taking up residence inside your own body once again.

So stop giving away of your power to be in control of your health and wellbeing. That regular annual is or can be a resignation to a lack of personal power.  If you have an annual exam, go in with the expectation you are collecting information to make decisions.  Allow yourself the time to process the information in the appointment, and put it into context with the rest of your life.  Your physician is a team member in your life, NOT the director.

Honour yourself with time, give yourself the time to hear and listen to your body.  Put in place a plan that works for YOU, use all the tools you can to create the health and wellbeing you want. Start today, start with a nice deep cleansing breath and feel its refreshing power fill you.

Until next time!