Since you graduated from high school or college (aka when your mom or the school stopped initiating checkups), you probably haven't been seeing your doctor. Or worse, you don't think you really have one. You pretty much diagnose yourself with the help of Google and only see a doctor when your homemade fix worsens whatever it is you're going through. You know that's not good for you. When it comes to health, "good" isn't good enough; at least strive for the best because that has A LOT to do with your life. And honestly, checking with your doctor is one of the best things you can do for yourself (your future self will thank you) so here's a guide on how often you should see these health professionals:
Your family doctor
How often: Once a year for annual checkups if you're not sick, and several times a year when you are sick.
Why: You need to update your family doctor with your weight, height, blood pressure, and other changes in your body for him to know if you're still healthy. If you have coughs, colds, or different kinds of body pains, your doctor can treat them or refer you to a specialist.
How often: Once a year for a skin exam.
Why: You need to have your skin checked for unusual or ominous spots.
Note: You still need to check your skin monthly to find out if you're having new spots, or if your old spots are growing. Follow the ABCDE: asymmetry, border irregularity, uneven color, diameter bigger than 6 millimeters, and evolving shape and size. Then check with your dermatologist on what your spots could possibly be a sign of.
How often: Once a year or every three years.
Why: You need a Pap smear to see if there are abnormalities in the cells in your cervix. It's a way to see if you might have cervical cancer. If there are mild irregularities in your Pap test, you'll be made to take an HPV test to check if you have the HPV virus.
You also need to have an annual pelvic exam to see how your uterus and ovaries are.
How often: Every six months for cleaning and checkup.
Why: It's for the maintenance of your whites, even if you don’t smoke or floss every day. If you're a smoker or if you don't floss, you might need to see your dentist more frequently.
How often: Once every two or three years for an eye exam.
Why: If you wear glasses or contacts, you need to have your prescription updated. If you think your vision is 20/20, you might just be wrong.
Before you see these health professionals, make sure you know your family history and the medications you're currently taking. And when you do see them, ask if your body is healthy, or what you can do to improve your body's condition if it's not healthy. Remember to keep your doctor's phone number so you can reach him for questions and emergencies.
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