Busy lives and hectic work schedules tend to leave little time to prioritize health care. Many people are willing to eat their greens and nurture their cold symptoms, but scheduling routine appointments with a physician often becomes too much of a burden. Visiting a doctor regularly is an important aspect of health. These visits are the ones that make it possible to identify early signs of health issues like cancer, as well as provide an opportunity to assess one’s risk of disease. Despite this, many Americans decide to forgo routine visits to avoid taking time away from work. In fact, Americans have one of the lowest average numbers of annual doctor visits compared to other developed countries. To promote and prioritize preventative health, the third Tuesday of September has been named National Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day.
Being that physician offices are typically open between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., it can be difficult to arrange for health check-ups. National Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day is the perfect excuse to bite the bullet and schedule an appointment for oneself and for those they care about. Whether someone meets their sibling during lunch hour for a quick appointment or some friends make a day of the outing, a health check seems like less of a chore with someone along for the ride. This outing also allows for a great opportunity for open communication regarding health between friends.
As many people throughout the country don’t visit the doctor for regular check-ups, most individuals don’t know how to properly prepare for or what to expect from the appointment. Once an appointment is scheduled, friends should encourage each other to create a list of questions for the doctor. The appointment won’t require such a list, but it acts as a reminder to address any concerns regarding risk of disease, medication, and any other health queries. Though it may take a bit more effort, documenting all family medical history can also be useful for a physician. Knowing if diseases like cancer, diabetes, or muscular dystrophy are genetic can help a physician assess each person’s risk and create a health care plan if necessary.
National Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day is a great day to visit a physician. Of course, not everyone will be able to sneak away from their desk on that Tuesday. Luckily for them, there are plenty of other ways to embrace this day. For example, if someone is unable to take a loved one to an appointment on the 17th, they can instead have an open conversation about health. Conversing about family history and one’s own medical history can help prepare for a check-up by identifying potential health concerns. September 17th can even be the date in which someone makes the call to schedule an appointment. This is a particularly attractive option for friends or family who often have conflicting schedules and would be unable to go to the doctor together on such short notice. In an age where people prefer texting to phone calls, just scheduling the appointment can be half the battle.
Whether visiting the doctor, scheduling an appointment, or starting to talk about health amongst friends, National Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day is an opportunity to begin prioritizing preventative health. Acknowledging early symptoms of disease can increase the likelihood of successful treatment. Discovering a disease before symptoms appear is even more favorable. However, discovering a disease before symptoms appear is only possible with routine check-ups and active communication about health.