I have a big birthday this month. I can’t even believe it. While on the inside I still feel about 28 years old, I know how important it is to take care of myself. Just because I walk daily, watch what I eat, and spend time relaxing, but that doesn’t always amount to a healthy lifestyle. As I prepare to hit my mid-fifties, I am taking measures to ensure that I’m not just healthy on the inside, but also healthy on the outside.
How do you think our bodies’ age on the inside? When is a good time to schedule a Well-woman Visit? What other things, as we age, should we be doing to ensure healthy aging?
With these questions in mind, I decided to schedule my Well-Woman Visit, and because my doctor likes to see me around my birthday, off I went.
As I walked into the office, I began to prepare myself for a routine appointment. First, I was told to step on the scale. I always take my shoes off, because I like to think it makes a huge difference. After that, the nurse took my blood pressure. Following came to my body temperature check. My temp usually runs a bit low, so I tried guessing in my head what it would be today.
For the most part everything was normal, so I finished up by filling out my medication form. I had a few specifics I wanted to check with the doctor. Especially since we’re in the thick of winter, I was concerned about my iron levels, and thyroid. Having to get blood drawn, I braced myself by singing ‘Rock the Casbah’ in my head. Don’t ask why, it just helps when facing with needles! (Don’t judge) Most importantly though was my heart health. I know that High blood pressure runs in my family, so it was on my top list to make sure I’m clear of that.
After getting checked, my doctor mentioned that I may have Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP), but that I shouldn’t worry too much because it’s very common and that can easily be taken care of. A swishy sound that doctors hear as they listen to the heart that can be a sign of the heart valve not closing all the way. That’s what he heard on mine. I also wanted to know if my hormones that are affecting my heart, bones, and other things so I quickly searched online and found some simple ways to prevent getting endocarditis, an infection that causes damage to the heart valves. Here’s what the Mayo Clinic listed online:
- Call your doctor if you have symptoms of an infection (a sore throat, general body achiness, and fever). Colds and flu do not cause endocarditis. But, infections, which may have the same symptoms, do. So, to be safe, call your doctor.
- Practice good oral hygiene habits every day. Good oral health is generally more effective in reducing your risk of bacterial endocarditis than is taking preventive antibiotics before certain procedures. Take good care of your teeth and gums by:
1. Seeking professional dental care every six months
2. Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth
3. Making sure dentures fit properly
4. Learn more about good oral hygiene and heart disease
Overall, my first check-up went well. I am going to do a bit more blood work to check my Vitamin B-D levels, and I have a follow-up echocardiography and a mammogram. I already feel better that I know how my body is doing! How’s that for a start of the year?!
Maybe you’re younger than me, and maybe it’s not your birthday month, but it’s the start of a new year. I hope I can encourage you to do the same and get your Well-Woman Visit. Get to know your heart, check things out with your doctor, and let’s all keep feeling young.
Below are shots taken from the filming of #YouGoGirl