February 28 isn’t just the last day before the spring months finally arrive – it’s also the internationally recognized Rare Disease Day!
It is now in its 11th year, and features corresponding events all around the globe in 94 different countries. Rare Disease Day was initiated to raise awareness among the general public about more unusual and unique diseases, and their impact on people’s lives.
Most importantly, Rare Disease Day generates knowledge, as well as research and attention, to find cures for diseases that aren’t often in the limelight.
Maybe Not So Rare
And as it turns out, “rare diseases” aren’t all that rare!
Roughly 1 in 20 people will live with a rare disease at some point in their life. With more attention and research for these less-recognized diseases, treatments and cures become more readily available.
Rare Disease Day is also a good reminder and opportunity to do a “check in” on your own health, too!
Your Best Bet? Get Checked
The majority of physicians around the country recommend that everyone get a generalized physical at least once a year. The frequency may go up with age, and with chronic or recurring conditions and / or health risks.
A general physical is a great way to ensure that everything is running as it should. It can often identify potential medical issues before they become a larger problem.
Although annual physicals can do a world of good, most of the population skips the annual exams and only go to the doctor when necessary.
And it’s certainly easy to see how this occurs! With packed schedules and more pressing concerns, it’s understandable that folks don’t go to the doctor until there is an actual problem.
Tell Your Doctor Everything
But considering that an annual physical can pinpoint both rare and more common conditions well before they become an emergency, they are essential for ensuring continually good health.
So make an appointment for a physical. When you go, be sure to consider these factors and questions to help your physician find any problems before they become major concerns.
- Has anything changed since your last doctor’s visit?
Have you adapted a new diet, exercise regime, or made any significant life changes that could impact your health?
- How is your sleep?
Your sleep quality goes a long way in determining your overall health! Note if you’ve had any issues with the quality or quantity of your sleep, or report any common nighttime habits, like snoring. Snoring is often one of the initial signs of obstructive sleep apnea.)
- Are there any “small symptoms” to report?
Symptoms that may be a nuisance but which don’t significantly interfere with your life are still worth reporting. They could be small signs of bigger issues.
Note any inconvenient but bearable problems, like an occasional upset stomach, headaches, tiredness, or irritability – even if they seem like small potatoes.
Keeping tabs on your health is the best way to prevent medical issues – whether it’s a common condition like obstructive sleep apnea, or a rare disease.
So use February 28 as a reminder to pick up the phone and schedule an annual physical. By periodically checking in on your health, you have a better chance of nipping any potential problems in the bud, no matter how rare.
Worried that your sleep is not as it should be? Don’t hesitate to contact us.
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