Heidi Bayer ©2009 All Rights Reserved

Heidi Bayer ©2009 All Rights Reserved

At the beginning of every flight, the flight attendants remind us to put our own mask on first, then put a mask on our child. I was recently reminded of this by an acquaintance and it stuck with me as a caregiver to a child, wife, and working mom. At a trip to my board certified Allergist last month for my yearly check-up, my Doctor verified that my asthma is in remission. I still have medication with me in case of a flare, and I am also taking antihistamine due to Spring allergies. Last weekend, I found that I can actually run. I ran around Prospect Park. Ran (ok I did walk a bit). I haven’t run since I was sixteen. After my run, I actually felt an incredible sense of freedom and re-energized.

When my asthma was at its worst and not responding to medication, I used to say, “If you can’t breathe, you can’t live.” Those with asthma know what I’m talking about. Those without asthma can only imagine.

With this new lease on life, last week I went to my regular doctor for a yearly check-up – I had previously been to my gynecologist for my yearly visit, and visited the imaging center for my yearly mammogram. Advice on regular check-ups can be found here, on the CDC Web Site. I went to my GP (general practitioner), the Doctor I’ve had for the past eight years and the same Doctor my husband has (he’s quick to pint out how wonderful she is, I’m quick to point out that she was my Doctor first!). She checked my cholesterol through a blood test, called a lipid panel. We talked about aging and how after forty weight shifts from a woman’s tush and thighs to her stomach, something very unpleasing, and how perimenopause is not talked about often enough between women and can last from 10 – 15 years. I hope to interview our Doctor for a blog post soon. Her comment was that many people have the same complaints as I do. Nothing to worry about, just the normal machinations of age and time.

The results from the blood tests came in through an online portal set up by the doctor’s office where I can check all of my test results and email my doctor confidentially. This is in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, which requires electronic health records.

All results were good. Except one. My Vitamin D level was low. Information on Vitamin D deficiency can be found here on WebMD. The treatment is to take a prescription dose of Vitamin D once a week for eight weeks, then have my blood checked again. Vitamin D, as you know, can be obtained from 20 minutes of sun exposure on 25% of your body without sunscreen. But, in the winter in New York City, there are no benefits from the sun – our benefits are from May to September only. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in people with Crohn’s, Celiac disease and may cause worsening of asthma symtoms. I wrote a blog post last year around this time about Vitamin D – you can read it here.

Are you avoiding going to your Doctor for a yearly check-up? Why? Find a Board Certified physician and get yourself checked out. You may put it off because you feel good, but you want to get to know your Doctor, have some blood work done, and be proactive with your health. If you don’t put your own mask on first, then who will be around to put the mask on your child?

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