November 5, 2007
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Inspections and introspection
November 5, 2007
If you're like a lot of Americans, you think that a yearly physical is a good idea even if you dread it. You dutifully make the appointment. You show up, chat with the doctor, submit to poking, prodding and a battery of tests. You may even grudgingly climb on the scale.You feel better afterward, just knowing that someone has checked under the hood....
Here's something else to keep in mind: While your doctor is tapping here and squeezing there, he's also often pelting you with questions. That's because for many doctors -- and patients -- the routine physical is no longer focused almost entirely on testing. Instead, the doctor sets aside the stethoscope and talks to the patient, asking probing questions about lifestyle -- diet, exercise, stress -- that often can be more important than almost any blood test.
The best checkups encourage introspection along with the inspection. They're more than medicine. The physical is about you, the patient, and your evolving conversation with your doctor. It's a chance to take a moment in a hectic year -- or two or three -- to confront some questions that you may have been avoiding.
You know what they are. Do you exercise regularly? Are you gaining weight? Do you smoke? Drink a lot? Do you have a family history of high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, diabetes? Do you wear a seat belt in the car and a helmet on the bike? There's a long list, all aimed at helping the patient make wise choices.
Do yourself a favor: Listen to your own answers. That checkup could be the most important medical appointment of your life. More articles
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
My Point: praying regularly and regular synagogue attendance have been shown to extend life. When we pray, we force ourselves to answer the most important and basic questions about life-like a doctors questions about our physical health..
Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg