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Assessing your health: Take an inventory

Assessing your health: Take an inventory

Have you ever gone to your annual physical and felt as if you are sitting through a grand inquisition? After checking your weight and blood pressure, the nurse sits with you to ask a series of questions related to your health, and possibly even your family’s health. Then, in comes the physician for the second round of interrogations along with some potential poking and prodding.

This series of questions isn’t asked because your doctor is a busybody and they aren’t trying to make you uncomfortable either. It’s a good thing! The purpose is a health assessment—to create an inventory of your health history, potential necessary screenings and current health concerns.

Between doctor’s visits, you can and should be doing a health assessment of your own! After all, who is a better advocate for your health than you? Doing your own check-up can help you have a clear view of your current health. This practice allows you and your doctor work together, more efficiently to prevent future health problems. It also creates awareness and accountability of your health goals and ultimately allows you to take better care of yourself through lifestyle changes.

The following is a list of recommended ways that you can monitor your own health. With the help of your physician, you’ll stay sea worthy for many seasons to come!

  • Height and weight: both height and weight should be monitored regularly. Unexpected weight loss can indicate serious illness and loss of height is related to osteoporosis. Excess weight, especially in the waist area increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and more. You should measure your weight regularly, especially if you are working on a weight loss goal. Height should be measured periodically, through Wellness screenings or at your doctor’s office.
  • Blood pressure: Keeping tabs on blood pressure can help you to limit the risks of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is present in about 70% of patients with heart attack and 77% of those with stroke! Blood pressure problems respond well to lifestyle changes and medications too. Blood pressure should be checked at least every two years and at least annually if blood pressure is above 120/80mm Hg. Your Wellness health coach can check your blood pressure any time for you as part of your Wellness program.
  • Lipid levels and blood sugar: Your cholesterol and blood sugar are checked each year through your Wellness screening. These are important screenings as they help evaluate your risk of heart disease and diabetes. If you are already working with your doctor on either of these facets of your health, you can regularly monitor them through our self-pay daily health screenings. If you have not yet screened your lipids or blood sugars, here are the basic recommendations. Lipids should be evaluated every five years, or more frequently based on your current levels and doctors’ requests. Blood sugar should be evaluated beginning at age 45 or earlier if you have heart disease or risk factors for diabetes such as obesity, family history, high blood pressure or cholesterol or have had gestational diabetes.

Other screenings that are generally recommended and should be part of your annual physical conversation include:

  • hearing evaluations
  • eye exams
  • colorectal cancer screenings
  • cervical cancer screenings
  • fracture risk screenings
  • Note: Your doctor will recommend these based on your age, gender and other risk factors.

CCH Wellness has a Self-Assessment Worksheet for anyone to use to track their own progress or numbers. You can download it here (PDF). In addition to these recommended screenings, there are some wonderful online tools to help you do an assessment of your current health and to evaluate future needs. Check out some of these online quizzes below to help you better manage your overall health.

The American Heart Association offers a self-assessment called Life’s Simple 7. Try this quiz for your overall health.

Try the Rate Your Plate nutrition quiz from the Brown University Institute for Community Health Promotion to help you assess your nutritional habits and decide how to make improvements, which is recommended by Jamie Marchetti, MS, RDN, LD, of CCH Nutrition Services

Utilize the following websites to assess your current mental health and be sure to consult with a counselor or doctor any concerns you have:

Have you been questioning your hearing? Use American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Self-Test for Hearing Loss quiz to determine if you should see a physician or an audiologist.

Rachel Wilde, PBT, CPT, MA, works at CCH Wellness as a Technician and Phlebotomist. Campbell County Health Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. At Wellness, you can receive daily community blood draws, lab tests, and health and wellness screenings in Gillette, Wyoming, from 6-11 am Monday-Friday. To learn more about Wellness, please visit www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.