First Doctor Visit in Five Years

I went to the doctor today. It was just the intake appointment for One Medical, which is like a Genius Bar for medicine, and is included in my health plan (membership is normally $199/yr). But even before my first appointment I’m already spiraling… I started by looking up how to prepare for a doctor visit and National Institute for Aging says I should make a list and prioritize my concerns:

My number one concern is not to die.

This is summed up in my three primary principles:

  • Safety First
  • Fun Second
  • Profits Third

Safety in this context is the bottom levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy, fun is the top part, and profits is anything generated after achieving those goals. None of these goals are possible if I die, so one of my main goals is to live for as long as possible.

The World Health Organization says that “the top 10 causes of death accounted for 55% of the 55.4 million deaths worldwide (see The Top 10 Causes of Death). They break this down further pointing out that cardiovascular, respiratory, and neonatal conditions are the top causes of global deaths. (At least I can cross neonatal off the list!)

The big ten issues are:

  1. Ischemic heart disease
  2. Stroke
  3. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  4. Lower respiratory infections
  5. Neonatal conditions
  6. Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers
  7. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  8. Diarrhoral diseases
  9. Diabetes mellitus

So how do I minimize my risks?

Ischemic heart disease is when the parties are narrowed and less blood and oxygen reaches the heart. Risk factors according to the Mayo Clinic include:

  • Tobacco (don’t smoke)
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol level
  • High blood triglyceride level
  • Obesity
  • Waist circumference (over 40 inches)
  • Lack of physical activity

My focus on fitness helps attack a lot of these. And it doesn’t look like I’m at risk for diabetes.

When they took my blood pressure at the dentist I was 123/78, which is an elevated Systolic number and a normal Diastolic number according to the American Heart Association.

When I was at the doctor’s office it was recorded as 132/82, but she told me it was the high end of normal and no medication was needed.

Factors that could help reduce my Systolic blood pressure are:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Decreasing the amount of salt in your diet
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight or obese
  • Increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity
  • Limiting alcohol to no more than one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and under

I do like to salt my food, and while I don’t drink every day, when I do it’s usually more than two. So maybe less salt and alcohol can lower that number.

We talked about my sleep and she referred me to a sleep specialist. If I’m not getting enough sleep that could be impacting my blood pressure.

I’m also going back to get lab work done, so I’ll have more concrete results soon.