The importance of a regular health check

Do you avoid making an appointment to see your doctor?  I know I do!  


I tend to make up trivial excuses not to go:


 “I don’t have time”,


 “Work is too busy”,


“I have more important things to do”,   


“I am scared of what he/she might tell me”,


Deep down I know just how important it is to schedule the time to go for a check-up, and I know I’m not the only one making up excuses. It’s something we all need to think about and prioritise. From experience it’s better to know your results and be able to take real, actionable steps towards better health rather than not knowing at all.


Looking after your health is the most important thing you can do not only for yourself, but for your family as well. Having regular check-ups are a great way of knowing how your health is tracking, as it provides you with an opportunity to discuss your results with your doctor, and talk about areas that you may need working on.


Regular checks of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body weight can alert you to any potential problems that can be easily identified and can be treatable. This allows you to take your health in your own hands and make changes to any areas where you may be at risk, through things just as simple as the food you eat and by engaging in physical activity. Creating this awareness is not only empowering it is making your health your number one priority!     


I know I am at an age where going to the GP once a year is essential; the benefits of knowing how my health and any risk factors are going far outweigh the fear of not going at all.  


So here is a quick recap of the health risks that are not only damaging to your cardiovascular health, but also to your Brain. Looking after your Heart is Step 1 in the Your Brain Matters Program, so keeping your heart in the best shape you can as you age has the ability to keep your brain in shape too and reduce the risk of getting dementia.


High Cholesterol


A history of high cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia.  Even mildly elevated cholesterol is associated with increased risk, so it is important to do everything you can to keep your cholesterol in the healthy range.  All adults from middle age onwards should have their cholesterol regularly checked by their doctor.


Smoking


Smoking has now been shown to be a risk factor for dementia.  Some studies have also shown that a history of passive smoking may also increase dementia risk. If you are a smoker, make sure you see your doctor on ways to help you quit.


Blood Pressure


A history of high blood pressure that goes untreated is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia.  Effective long-term treatment of high blood pressure can reduce dementia risk.  All adults, especially once we reach middle age, should have their blood pressure regularly checked by their doctor.


Body Weight


Obesity in midlife is associated with an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia.  To reduce the risk of dementia, all adults should try to maintain a healthy body weight throughout life and avoid ‘middle age spread’


Type 2 Diabetes


Research consistently shows that people who have type 2 diabetes are on average more likely to develop dementia compared to those without diabetes.  Some people who don’t have diabetes have problems with the way their body deals with glucose and insulin.  Impaired insulin secretion, insulin resistance and glucose intolerance are also associated with an increased risk of dementia.


Now let’s all make that call and book in an appointment with your GP.  I know I will. What about making an appointment today? 


If you do not currently have a GP, you can find services in your area by visiting the NHSD Directory – http://www.healthdirect.gov.au/health-services


Join us for our next blog soon where will be talking about step 2 of the 5 simple steps (and something I love to do) Physical Activity

Call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 for questions, information, advice.

 

Your Brain Matters was supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Chronic Disease Prevention and Service Improvement Fund from July 2012 to June 2015.

DCRC

 

Dementia Australia would like to acknowledge the Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians and carers of the country of Australia.