6. Common topics people avoid, but shouldn’t.
It’s normal. Everyone has something that causes embarrassment or makes him or her feel awkward. Your doctor probably won’t think it’s embarrassing, though. Even if a topic seems really personal or uncomfortable, try to talk about. Once you do, it’s usually the beginning of getting better. Here are some common topics people avoid but shouldn’t.
- Urinary incontinence. Studies have shown that 1 out of 3 women have difficulty with urinary incontinence (loss of urine), but it takes 3-5 years for most women to work up the courage to talk about it with their doctor. If this is a problem you are having, you are not alone. To make the most of your annual exam, you can keep a chart of how much fluid you are drinking in a day, how many times you urinate in a 24 hour period, and how any times you leak urine during a 24 hour period. If you keep a log of this for a week, your doctor will be in a good position to advise you how to best deal with this common issue.
- Domestic Violence is another topic that people often feel is off limits. Studies show that nearly 1 in 3 adult women experience assault by a partner sometime in adulthood. If you are suffering from domestic violence, and that includes verbal abuse, talk to your doctor. Get help.
- Erectile dysfunction can be awkward and difficult for men to discuss. This is important information to share because in addition to the impact on one’s sex life, erectile dysfunction may be a sign of arterial disease or other medical conditions. It may also be a sign of Andropause or Male Menopause. While we’re talking about Viagra, new research suggests the increased use of erectile dysfunction medications has caused an alarming rise of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among the over 50 group. Evidently, because pregnancy is no longer a worry, people are not practicing safe sex. If you are sexually active and over 50, it’s time for this discussion with your doctor as well.
7. Ask about your sleep. Not enough may be killing you.
If poor sleep is a problem for you, tell your doctor. Poor sleep is a major issue for 70 million American adults. It contributes to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and many more medical conditions. Most adults need about 7-8-hours of sleep a night to function optimally and to stay well. There are many reasons people have difficulties sleeping, from anxiety, depression, and stress to medications, medical problems, urinary problems, uncomfortable sleeping conditions, too much caffeine, alcohol, and restless leg…the list goes on and on.
To help you figure out what’s contributing to your sleep disturbance, keep a sleep log and bring it to your exam. Get a free downloadable sleep diary at DoctorSeibel.com/sleep. Write down the time you go to bed, how long it takes to fall asleep, how many times you wake up during the night, what time you wake up in the morning. Also note if you take any naps during the day. If you do this for a couple of weeks before your exam, your doctor will offer some information to help you. Your may be asked if your partner says you that you snore loudly every night – it could be a sign of sleep apnea.
Your annual exam is a special time. You have your healthcare provider’s undivided attention. Get the most out of your visit; be prepared. Realize that to live a long and healthy life, you’ve got to get involved in the process of staying well. Bring your questions, your lists, and your most pressing issues. Use this as an opportunity to make the changes you need to accomplish to optimize your health.