Time for a Spring overhaul?

It’s great to see the long evenings now; we are two months away from the longest day already and probably all talking about well-deserved summer holiday after over two years of abject misery, good luck to us all!

Over the last two months, I have talked about heart problems and some exciting advances in treatment.

This month I wanted to look at health generally, as I reckon over the last two Covid years, we have been neglecting ourselves. Doctors particularly are remiss in this respect.

How about a check-up? I am booked in myself. My car has been better looked after than my body of late!

So, what can the doctor offer to assess health? There seems to be a full understanding of cholesterol levels and patients often brag about how low it is, while puffing on 20 Major a day and doing no exercise at all. You get my point; health and longevity is complex and there is little place for medical dogma.

However, we will do our best to keep you well. So, prepare yourself for a virtual health check. I will concentrate on the ‘well man’ check, Here we go… 

“Good morning, long time no see! Any worries or symptoms? Right let us weigh you first, oh dear work to be done here. Can I check your blood pressure? Fine, sit down, relax and yes, that seems ok. Now stand up and I will recheck it. Good. Now I need to check your chest, heart and lungs. Great, deep breaths fine.

Just climb up on the couch, I want to examine your tummy. Appendix scar? Ok, liver, kidneys and spleen seem ok. Fine. Do you mind just giving me a urine test, I want a more detailed assessment of your kidneys, I will be looking for sugar and protein to check for diabetes and kidney problems.

While you are doing that, I am going to write some blood forms and then take some samples.

 Fine, your urine test is normal no sugar or protein. 

Now I will draw some blood, just roll your sleeve up. Yes, I will check your cholesterol but also an awful lot more! The bloods will be analysed for diabetes, liver and kidney function. Your blood salts will be checked, and a CRP, which reflects general health and hidden serious disease as well. We will look at your iron and vitamin levels and your blood count to exclude anaemia and an infection through your white cell level. Yes, it is thorough, this is only once a year!

As you have piled the weight on, I am checking your thyroid function and your prostate activity, as you are ‘middle-aged’. If the prostate level is high, I will repeat it, and check the size of your prostate by means of a back passage exam. Don’t look so worried!”

Now, as you smoke, I am going to book you in for an abdominal ultra sound with my partner to make sure your main blood vessel in your tummy is not enlarged. He also has a look at your liver, gall bladder, kidneys and spleen to make sure all is well. 

 How does that all sound? Here is some advice about diet and smoking cessation and I will see you is a week.

If your wife or partner is interested in a check-up she might prefer to see my female partner or practice nurse.

  Great, then we will see you both in a week or so.”

  Now to misquote Dr Adam Kay, that did not hurt a bit! 

Dr Jeff Featherstone

Dr Jeff Featherstone is a West Cork GP and A&E doctor at Mercy University Hospital and Cork University Hospital.

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Coming up for air

Tue May 3 , 2022
Everything changes all the time, that is one thing we can be assured of. Change can happen in the blink of an eye or more gradually so it’s less obvious. The fall-out from Covid continues and is potentially huge in terms of impacting our mental, emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. […]