By Dr. John Pang, WellMed at Northwest Center – Houston, Texas
January is here, and many people make New Year's resolutions to get healthier. But how many really stick to it?
One resolution worth keeping is prioritizing regular wellness visits with your doctor. Think of wellness visits as snapshots of your health over time. They offer a clear picture of where your health currently stands and allow for necessary adjustments to lead a healthier life. It's like having a personalized health album, capturing moments that matter.
The frequency of wellness visits varies depending on age, medical history and existing health conditions. However, an annual physical examination is generally recommended for most adults. For those with more complex health needs, more frequent check-ups may be necessary. Regular wellness visits are essential for early detection of potential health issues. They give doctors and patients insights and allow for proactive measures.
During wellness visits, your doctor will conduct a thorough health assessment. It's not just a check-up; it's a comprehensive wellness approach. From a head-to-toe physical exam to blood tests, EKGs and various screenings, your doctor will cover all bases.
Basic blood tests and screenings can catch conditions like diabetes, heart issues and cancers in their early stages. Early diagnosis can often prevent these conditions from progressing into serious health concerns.
You can prepare for your wellness visit with these three valuable tips:
- Catalog your medications and supplements, noting dosages.
- Compile a quick reference sheet detailing your medical history and a list of any specialists.
- Prioritize questions by creating a list to bring with you to your appointment.
Understanding your family health history is also important in determining the necessity for specific screenings. This knowledge helps your doctor determine if you need specific screenings based on your family's health and your genetic predisposition.
Keeping up with your wellness visits helps build a strong relationship between you and your doctor, so you can get personalized care and quicker treatment when needed.
I advise my patients to incorporate more exercise, stay well-hydrated, take necessary vitamins and supplements and maintain a balanced diet. Following these guidelines can contribute to a longer, healthier life. A recent case illustrates this: a patient experiencing unusual fatigue during a wellness visit was diagnosed with diabetes through various tests. By implementing lifestyle changes and initially taking medication, she successfully regained control of her health.
For those anxious about screenings, know that your doctor cares about you. It is better to know sooner than later. When it comes to your health, knowledge is power. It can help you take preventive measures and prepare for any possibility.
Regular wellness visits are the key to unlocking a healthier, happier you in the year ahead. This year, make prioritizing your health a resolution you will keep.
Dr. John Pang is a board-certified family medicine physician who speaks English and Korean. He received his medical degree from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas. He completed his residency at the Columbia Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Pang is a member of the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association (TOMA), the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP) and the Texas College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (TxCOFP). He is committed to providing compassionate, quality care to his patients.