Health Watch -- Take Someone to the Doctor

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Give your loved ones the gift of health. Take them to the doctor.

Sept. 21 is "Take a Loved One to the Doctor" Day. This day was founded by the US Department of Health and Human Services to encourage Americans, especially those in minority groups, to take charge of their health and get preventative medical care and exams.

Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say there are some essential screenings you should consider on this day. One of the easiest yet most important tests is getting your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure has almost no symptoms until it's already done extensive damage. African-Americans are at especially high risk for high blood pressure. If detected soon enough, high blood pressure can be controlled with lifestyle changes or medication. This test should be done at every visit to the doctor.

Another important screening is one to test for glaucoma. Like high blood pressure, there are few symptoms until the later stages of the disease. It can be detected early with a simple screening. A glaucoma test should be part of a regular, comprehensive eye exam, which most people should have annually after age 60. People with risk factors, such as high blood pressure, smoking, African-American heritage or family history of the disease, should begin screenings at age 40.

Women over the age of 40 should have annual screening mammograms to test for breast cancer. Men should have annual blood tests to detect prostate cancer. Both of these cancers can be treated more effectively if they're detected early.


Sept. 2004

Health Watch is heard Monday through Friday nationwide on the "Stardust" format of ABC Satellite Radio. Call your local radio station and ask if they carry the program.