While a large number of Canadians will oftentimes avoid going to their physician and instead opt to be seen only when absolutely necessary, having regular checkups with your physician is vital in ensuring optimal overall health. Despite the common phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” it is important to go for annual examinations as a part of your general health maintenance and to identify any illnesses or diseases before they become serious and/or life-threatening.
Checkups can include assessment of a patient’s blood pressure and weight, along with discussion on diet, alcohol, tobacco and drug use. For more in-depth information on those topics, visit http://alighahary.wordpress.com and http://alighahary.weebly.com.
Dr. Ali Ghahary, a Vancouver MD who practices at Brentwood Medical Clinic, will also ensure that a patient’s immunizations are up to date and send them for routine blood work. This allows for the physician to discover common diseases that aren’t necessarily seen by the naked eye – these include hypo or hyperthyroidism, iron deficiency and kidney function – and are often easily treated with medication. Doing a CBC (Complete Blood Count) also helps to determine the amount of red or white cells in the system, and can even determine certain cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.
Screenings such as those for colorectal cancer or breast cancer are usually dependent on the age of the patient. In Canada, all provinces offer free breast cancer screening. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends women between the ages of 40 and 49 discuss the risks of breast cancer with their doctor, and it is suggested that women between the ages of 50 and 69 have a mammogram every 2 years. If breast cancer is detected early, you have a better quality of life and may require less treatment, which also means a shorter recovery period. For men, while the majority of prostate cancers are found in those over the age of 50, screening can begin as early as age 40. To check for prostate cancer, two tests are typically done: One known as a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), as well as a Prostate Specific Antibody (PSA) blood test.
Children should also have regular checkups with a physician to ensure that their development is at the appropriate stage for their age, that they have good nutrition and hygiene, and that they are also up-to-date on their immunizations. Recommended vaccines include those against chickenpox, influenza, HPV and hepatitis viruses. For an in-depth list of vaccinations available for children, visit KidsHealth.org.