February 20, 2013
Sometimes people amaze me! They schedule regular maintenance for their cars. After all, if you don’t change your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, something bad will happen. Luckily, they check their brakes from time to time. If they didn’t, they would discover that they were faulty by having an unnecessary accident. It makes sense to take care of your car.
My neighbors maintain their lawns. They have beautiful foliage, well manicured and beautifully tended. They sealcoat their driveways. My neighborhood has aged and, with age, the maintenance of their houses has become increasingly costly. People are repairing roofs, replacing windows, painting and caulking. It makes sense to take care of your house.
Your car transports you from one place to another. Your house shelters you. Your body houses your soul. Doesn’t it make sense to maintain and care for your body at least as much as you care for your house and car? My patients often excuse themselves from the responsibility of caring for their bodies by insisting they don’t have time. After all, they have to pay for the cars and houses. They have to put away money for a rainy day. My patients excuse themselves from having yearly physicals by pointing out that insurance does not pay for routine health maintenance physicals. I never understood that logic!
Since insurance does not pay for new brakes, should we wait for the brakes to fail? When the brakes fail, we can rear end an innocent family’s van. The accident will lead to a front end job and the insurance will then cover new brakes. Does that make sense?
By not doing routine health checkups, we stand the chance, like the motorist above, of missing important signs and symptoms of preventable disease. Failing health, like failing brakes, often leads to a collision. You, the patient, runs head on into illness. Sometimes that illness is catastrophic. The family you rear end is your own! By the way, it’s lucky you saved that money for a rainy day. Discovering that colon cancer that should have been prevented by your colonoscopy is costly. It’s raining cats and dogs!
My favorite blessing is: “May you be so blessed as to never know what disease you prevented.” Setup a maintenance schedule with your healthcare provider today.
This article was written in 2010. Recently, preventative physicals exams have come under fire in the press. Our government has promised to provide preventative care to the masses despite being broke. I know it sounds cynical, but I believe that rather than admitting it cannot afford to pay for necessary care, the government will reinterpret scientific data and find that much of the care we deem essential today, really isn't. They sure are good at kicking the can down the road. Today's fiscal cliff will likely become tomorrow's health precipice.
Dr Segal blogs at www.livewellthy.org and is the co-author of "Diets and Other Unnatural Acts."