Humans are creatures of avoidance. We’ll avoid just about anything unpleasant for as long as we can, even if there are critical consequences to not avoiding it. We avoid renewing our driver’s licenses until the day before our birthday. We avoid taking our car in for an oil change until the “change oil” light is practically slapping us upside the head every time we start the car. We can even avoid unpleasant conversations with friends or family members by just not talking to them anymore except when absolutely necessary. It’s not a great strategy, but it’s an all too common one.
The consequences of that avoidance can be especially critical when it comes to matters of health, though. Your mind may not be ready for unpleasant medical procedures, but your body needs them to keep functioning properly. Technically speaking, you can get by without a car, but we can’t get by without a body. Bodies are kind of important in that regard.
If you’re a woman of a certain age, you’ll probably need to go through a mammogram. There’s been a debate among medical professionals regarding exactly when that should happen, though. Some groups say 40, some say 45, and some say 50 is fine. If you have a strong history of breast cancer in your family, younger is better. If you aren’t sure exactly when you should start, that’s OK. Have regular conversations with your doctor about the best time to get your first mammogram. Mammograms aren’t the most comfortable experience, but they can provide critical information regarding the health of your breasts. There is a risk of false-positives, especially if you’re a woman who hasn’t yet hit menopause. Those can be scary and frightening, so that’s another thing to consider.
We hear so much about breast cancer nowadays that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Should you be performing self-examinations? Should you expect to get a mammogram annually or every other year? Talk to your doctor if you aren’t sure what’s of you. There is no one-size-fits-all answer in most cases, but honest conversations with a medical professional can do a lot to ease your mind, regardless of which path you choose. But you do have to choose something; don’t just use the debate among medical professionals as a reason to ignore the whole thing.
When was the last time you went to the dentist? If it was at some point during the Obama administration, then you’re long overdue. Look, sitting down in the dental chair and waiting for a dentist to come at you with that tooth scraping tool is not a joyful experience. It’s just not. But going without regular dental cleanings can lead to plaque build-up, which can, in turn, lead to cavities, which means you’ll be spending more time in that chair than if you just got a check-up every six months or so like you’re supposed to do. Find a dentist whom you’re comfortable working with, whether that means looking into sleep dentistry or just looking for a dental office that employs a comfort dog to calm down anxious patients. It may even mean just finding a dentist who avoids trying to ask you personal questions about your life while he or she is three inches away from your face. It’s OK if you don’t look forward to the dentist; few people do. But it is possible to find an arrangement that works for you.