Thursday, April 20, 2017

Annual Wellness Review

I am an advocate of an annual wellness review. It is another way to help take charge of your personal health.

Fortunately, Medicare, and many health insurance companies, provide this service at no additional cost. I look forward to this event and use it as an opportunity to discuss my general health and any specific issues that have surfaced since the last visit.

Prior to the Checkup

  • Personal Observations Document (POD). 
    • A week prior to the checkup, I review my daily health journal and previous year’s blood test results. The journal is a record of how I am doing. It includes comments on my strength, stamina, falls, stumbles, accidents, and injuries. I use keywords and highlights for anything abnormal or of concern. 
    • For example, am I having phlegm problems, pain, weakness, shortness of breath, etc. Along with the keyword, I briefly describe what happened and what might be the cause or trigger. 
    • I develop a draft POD.
  • I review the POD with my wife asking if she is aware of anything else I need to include in the Health Review. She always seems to have one or two additional items.  
  • After I update the POD, I print two copies, one for me and my doctor.

The Checkup

  • My blood pressure, pulse and temperature are checked. 
  • All medications I am currently taking including vitamins are reviewed.
  • I review with my doctor the Personal Observations Document. 
    • This is always a good starting point for further discussions including needed screenings and additional test.
  • Besides the normal check of my heart and lungs, my doctor asks a series of questions relevant to a person of my age and condition. 
  • Review immunization needs including pneumonia booster, flu shot, etc.
  • Blood is drawn. The blood tests are a good indicator of potential ‘red flags’ or early warning signs. It usually takes three-to-five days for the results. 
    • I always have my CPK checked – there is no additional cost for this.
    • My cholesterol, both good and bad, is also another indicator of changes taking place within your body.  
    • I ask for a copy of the blood test results for my records.

Post Checkup

  • If needed, schedule additional screenings and tests.
  • Review any follow-up items with my wife.
  • When the blood test results arrive, I record the results in my Blood Test History spreadsheet. This report dates back to the 1980s. It is an excellent record reflecting trends, both good and bad. I have graphed important indicators like CPK for a visual review of trends.

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