(BlackDoctor.org) – Many of us disregard the importance of regular checkups. Some of us avoid doctor visits out of fear and others simply because it’s not part of our routine. When your loved one puts off seeing the doctor, a small health problem can become a more serious one. And some of the most serious health issues don’t always have obvious symptoms.
African-Americans face a higher risk of some serious health conditions, including diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, asthma and obesity. Therefore, it’s crucial to encourage friends and family to make an appointment for a checkup or screening.
Where You Come In
You may be the one person who can persuade your loved one to go to the doctor. Getting him or her through the door is the key. Doctors can assess someone’s health and well-being by asking basic questions about diet and lifestyle, and running some quick tests. Also, the doctor may be able to suggest behaviors or treatments to minimize serious health problems.
While it’s important for people of all ages to see a doctor regularly, people age 50 and over are more at risk for a host of medical conditions and should see a doctor at least once a year.
Here are just a few reasons you should take a loved one to the doctor:
• Help your loved one learn what he or she needs to do to get and stay healthy.
• Reassure the whole family about your loved one’s health.
• Use this as a reminder to see the doctor yourself.
• You might save a loved one’s life!
What If They Don’t Want To Go?
Even though your loved one trusts you, you might need to turn on your powers of persuasion to get him or her to agree to see a doctor. People have a long list of reasons for avoiding doctor visits. Don’t fight them on every point. Just ask them to do it for you and the rest of the family. Use “I” statements like, “Mom, I see you’re having trouble sitting down and standing up, and I’m concerned.” Tell them you want to enjoy their company for many more years to come, and this is one quick, easy step in helping to make that happen.
Before The Appointment
Preparing a little in advance will help your loved one get a lot more out of the doctor visit. Here are some suggestions for information that your loved one’s doctor will find useful. But remember: The most important thing is going to the doctor, so don’t worry if you cannot get all of this information together before the visit.
1. Questions for the doctor: Help your loved one take control of his or her health by making sure the doctor addresses all of your questions thoroughly. The best way to do this? Write the questions down in advance. See our sample list of questions.