Being Well Is Easier Than You Think • Coral Springs Talk
Shawnette Sadler, MD
By Diana Hanford
Age is more than a number. It is a leading indicator of health conditions that could determine whether patients are at risk for debilitating or life-threatening illnesses.
“As we age, our bodies gradually change,” said Shawnette Saddler, MD, an internal medicine physician with the Broward Health Physician Group. She stressed the importance of seeing a health care provider regularly and following recommended health screenings and exams.
“When we hit 40, it’s a good idea to look under the hood and check the engine light, especially if you haven’t had regular physicals,” she said. “During an annual physical, a primary care physician will perform a physical assessment, order a blood test, and most importantly, have a meaningful conversation.”
Annual screenings can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, make adjustments to improve your health, and in some cases lead to early diagnoses, which can mean better outcomes. And often, Dr. Saddler said, we’ve gotten so used to certain symptoms that we no longer recognize it’s something your doctor should be treating.
“Communication is key,” said Dr. Saddler, who also practices at Broward Health Coral Springs. “It’s human nature to adapt to problems and move on. Many patients become accustomed to suffering from aches, pains, and hearing or vision loss, believing that they are the realities of aging. However, these conditions can also be a sign of a more serious problem. By discussing what you are really feeling, we as doctors can help determine what is or is not normal and refer a patient to a specialist for conclusive testing if necessary.
Types of screenings
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults 18 and older get tested for at least one hepatitis C virus in their lifetime, a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) . Chronic HCV infection has no obvious symptoms but can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. The good news is that hepatitis C can be treated with medication and can even be cured.
There are annual screenings for women, and Dr. Saddler encourages prioritizing annual mammograms and Pap smears based on health care provider recommendations. Postponing annual screenings, even for a year or two, greatly increases the risk of a delayed or missed diagnosis. This is especially true for cancer, in which early detection improves survival rates.
Another significant change affecting both men and women is the new recommended age for colon cancer screenings, which has been lowered to 45, according to the US Preventive Services Task Force, an independent voluntary group of experts. in prevention and evidence-based medicine.
Dr. Saddler acknowledges that many older patients don’t know their family’s medical history or don’t share known hereditary risks with their doctor and family, such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
Generations of Americans are eating more processed fast foods. As people age, their hormones change and their metabolism slows down, which increases risk factors. This is also why early detection and prevention are so important.
“We emphasize that the road to optimal long-term health begins with good habits at home, but must also be complemented by the guidance of a healthcare professional,” said Dr. Saddler. “Set a good example for your children by incorporating a healthy lifestyle that the whole family can build on. It can be as simple as cooking meals at home, limiting screen time, and participating in outdoor activities.
A short guide to maintaining your health and well-being:
- Know your baseline blood counts.
- Drink water, four to six 8oz cups is the daily recommendation.
- Get at least 200 minutes of exercise per week.
- Sleep seven hours every night.
- Prioritize self-care to decompress.
- If you are sedentary, get up every 30 minutes and stretch.
- Monitor and share what you eat.
- Be aware of the symptoms of depression, as poor mental health affects our physical well-being.
“There’s no better time than the present to prioritize your well-being,” Dr. Saddler said. “We want to provide patients with the help they need so they can thrive and live healthy, happy lives.”
To learn more about how to improve your health and well-being, visit BrowardHealth.org/Wellness.
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