When I started on my path to become a nurse I had one of those, “Ah ha” movements in anatomy and physiology class; I knew nothing about my body. From that moment, I found that many outside the medical profession were in the same boat. “It’s the first time I’ve ever had to come to the hospital,” I hear over and over at work.
Our bodies change over time and if we don’t know what to look for, the doctors office or hospital is in the future. Let’s work on staying out of the hospital and leading a healthy and happier life!
My brother, @AlpineAthlete, was such a fine test subject for me growing up. Four years older, he was constantly doing things my parents weren’t happy about and he was forced to deal with the consequences.
There is a lot to learn from other’s experiences, and not getting caught in the same pitfalls. Along these lines, it’s important that we acknowledge what happens in the lives of our friends and family. Not only could they be going through something and needing our support, it might be something we are at risk for and should work to avoid.
One of the new initiatives for the Movember Foundation is to get men moving. It doesn’t matter what we do, but it is important that we stay active. People rarely believe me when I tell them the brief pain I experience running and lifting weights makes me feel better. Outside of my nagging knee injury, staying active has helped with arthritis pain, fatigue, and how I manage stress. A sedentary lifestyle leads to a host of medical risks, per Johns Hopkins:
- Heart Disease
- Anxiety & Depression
- Increase risk for certain cancers
The discussion alone is important. Most people will tell us, “I know what I need to do.” But they continually avoid taking the steps to living a healthier life. Being emotionally available for the conversation is important as well. Depression and anxiety frequently keep people from doing the things they love (or keeping themselves healthy).
For those who have not experienced anxiety and depression of their own can find it hard to understand what a friend is going through. Again, being emotionally available is often enough to support a friend in need. I like asking people, “what would you like to talk about?” I’m usually surprised at what comes out!
It’s important to talk about the big things that happen in our lives: end of a relationship, death of a loved one, loss of a job, and financial problems can be the stressor that leads to anxiety and depression. The events can be far more subtle though, like loss of enjoyment in an activity or becoming a father for the first time.
I thank my lucky stars I decided to become a nurse before having kids, it helped significantly. Becoming a father for the first time can be terrifying and overwhelming, requiring support from friends and spouses alike.
Knowledge is our power in life. Our conversations with family should include known health issues. Family history affects our risk for cancers, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, mental illness among other illnesses. It’s important to know about living and deceased relatives to take preventative measures.
Lastly, it’s your hot body. You know your body better than anyone, so if you recognize a change it is important to check into it. Early detection is the best way towards treating big health issues. If you don’t know how to take action, just ask a friend, your physician, even I will help point you in the right direction.
I recommend establishing a primary care physician and getting a yearly physical involving physical assessment, mental assessment and blood work. The longer we wait the fewer options we have making early detection of health issues critical.