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Even the Healthy Need Their Doctor: January 30, 2013

Mick Ferry is blessed with good health.

“The only time I’ve been to the hospital, I got a fishing hook stuck in my finger,” says Mick Ferry.

People like him tend to skip regular checkups and screenings.

“When you’re younger it’s not as important because you’re bullet-proof, so to speak,” says Ferry. 

Experts say that’s not a healthy attitude.

“One of the things I try to encourage my patients to do is to get a wellness exam or an annual physical exam every year whether or not you’re feeling well and thinking that you’re healthy. Because there maybe underlying problems developing,” says Dr. Sal Lacagnina, VP Health & Wellness with Lee Memorial Health System.

Newborns have scheduled ‘well baby’ exams. And parents are generally good about getting their kids annual physicals. But about the time people are done with the pediatrician, they turn into a lost generation.

“I think we lose people once they really become adults, probably from their early 20s until their 40s and 50s, when at that time people may start to have problems,” says Dr. Lacagnina.

Experts fear slow- growing conditions, like cardiovascular disease, are going under the radar.

“I’ll see people who have high cholesterol and they’ll feel good and they’ll say ‘well you know that’s just me, I’ve had high cholesterol all my life’ Well these blood vessels are getting clogged and over time something bad is going to happen,” says Dr. Lacagnina.

Even the best habits can’t prevent every medical condition. Finding them early gives you more and better treatment options.

“After I turned 50, I was like, ok no more games. You have to adjust your diet and your intake and high cholesterol and blood pressure. There are ways to control those things so you’re not a time bomb,” says Ferry.

So it might be a good time to have a ‘healthy discussion’ with your doctor.