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Do You Take Better Care Of Your Car Than Your Body?

Most drivers know how often to have their cars' oil changed, the tires rotated, and their inspections done. But do you know how often you should have your blood pressure checked, your cholesterol measured, or your Pap smear done? Are you one of many adult Americans who take better care of their cars than their bodies?

The equivalent of your car's annual inspection is your annual physical examination. Although you don't get a sticker, you will get a wake-up call to any abnormalities. This is the time to have your height and weight measured, your blood pressure checked and your cholesterol screened. All adults should also have a digital rectal exam as part of their annual physical. Women need 3 additional tests: an annual Pap smear, an annual clinical breast exam, and an annual mammogram if you're over 40. If you're over 50, it's time to talk with your doctor about colonoscopy; if you're over 60, ask for a thyroid test or TSH as well as a fasting blood glucose test as a screen for diabetes.

This is also the time to review ALL of your current medications-prescription, over the counter, vitamins and supplements-with your doctor and to see if any other screening or diagnostic tests are necessary. Of course, the most important role the annual physical exam may serve is as a great opportunity to ask your doctor any questions you may have concerning your health.

Created: 3/23/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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