THE BLOG
02/18/2014 10:47 am ET Updated Apr 20, 2014

Your ROI on Safety: Keep Your Health Safe With Preventive Screenings

In the next couple of posts, we'll be looking at some of the things you can do to get the very best ROI on safety.

Remembering to get your regular checkup might not be the first thing you think of when you consider living a safer life. In fact, getting a checkup at all can be easily overlooked. When you're young, you feel good and don't think you need to see a doctor. Most of us are leading busy lives. Who has time for health screenings?

The truth is we all ought to make time. Getting used to regular health screenings sets the foundation for your future well-being. The older we get, the more critical it becomes.

During one of my routine physicals I found out I had high cholesterol and my vitamin D level was well below normal limits. I admit I used to be in that category of carefree people who didn't think much about checkups. I'm grateful I got over it and took care of it. By being health-conscious, I was able to recognize the importance of diet and exercise to complete the health equation. Even a routine vision screening while updating my glasses prescription proved to be a surprise. During a routine screening test while at my appointment I was suspected of having glaucoma. Fortunately it turned out to be a false alarm. But the scare still had an effect -- it raised my awareness of the possibility. Things can and do go wrong with our bodies. It is far safer to discover a problem early, while there's still ample time to correct it.

When you consider how and where you should go to get your health care, there are many choices available. The most common is conventional, allopathic medicine (MD). Other disciplines include osteopathy (DO), podiatry (DPM), chiropractic (DC), dentistry (DMD), optometry (OD), naturopathic (ND), and ayurvedic medicine, to name a few. Ayurveda in particular is near and dear to me because my late grandfather practiced it for more than 50 years. Ayurveda is a traditional system from India that works with dietary recommendations, herbal preparations, and other elements to generate healing and balance. It has yet to take a foothold in the Western world mainly due to lack of regulation and safety concerns over some of the herbal formulations.

Whichever health pathway you choose, be sure these disciplines are complementary rather than contradictory. There can be drug interactions with concurrent use of some herbal supplements and conventional medicines, so make sure your health professional is aware of everything you are taking.

Regardless of your preference, health screenings should never be disregarded. I know that's easier said than done. Sometimes simple procrastination or anxiety about medical procedures keeps people away from their doctors. Other times real financial burdens, lack of insurance, and related factors stop people from getting necessary screenings. Unfortunately, that means some people who've been skipping their screenings are walking around with ticking time bombs inside them. When that is the case, it is a sad fact that by the time a health problem is discovered, it is usually too late.

This is where the economic core asset meets the physical health core asset. Without enough financial resources, the physical core asset may be neglected. Collectively, it is more of an economic burden on society to deal with the aftermath of diagnosis and advanced disease than to deal with the upfront costs of early detection and prevention. Health screening awareness is a step in the right direction. Then it must be seen all the way through, with timely intervention and compliance.

When scheduling your preventive screenings, consider adding blood screenings, vision screenings, and dental screenings. You can learn more about other ways to safeguard your health in Optimal Living 360.

Sanjay Jain is a US-trained Board Certified physician, with over 15 years of clinical experience. He is the author of the new book, OPTIMAL LIVING 360: Smart Decision Making for a Balanced Life (Greenleaf, February 2014). Sanjay represents a new wave of thought leadership and expertise developed not only from his medical and financial education, but also his life experiences. Follow Sanjay on Twitter at @sanjayjainmd and visit his website at SanjayJainMD.com.

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