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Women’s Health Week: Why It’s Important To Take Care of Your Physical Health

I have always been very good about going to every doctors appointment. If I’ve been really sick and not sure if it was serious or not, I’ve always played it safe and gone to see a medical professional. I have been seeing VARIOUS specialists for years now.

I have my primary care doctor. I have my OBGY. I go to the dentist twice a year. I have a GI doctor (for IBS-related issues that stem from my anxiety). I have a podiatrist because I found out I have very flat feet with absolutely no arch my junior year of high school. I regularly see a dermatologist because one of my biggest fears is getting skin cancer. Most recently, I started seeing an endocrinologist because last year I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, which was no surprise to me because of a family history of thyroid disease. I’ve also seen various naturopathic doctors in the past to try and help with balancing my hormones.

While a lot of people might read that list and think, wow, you’re too young to have so many doctors…shit happens. I spent years treating my body like absolute shit. I struggled with disordered eating for most of my life (kinda still do), and that causes SO MANY health issues that nobody ever tells you about. On top of that, I smoked cigarettes with the actual intention of doing harm to my body. Thankfully, that was just a short stint.

I’ve also just had health issues. I had mono and a Lyme disease diagnosis back to back and it was after that that I started having significant GI issues between the month-long round of antibiotics and the mono causing insane inflammation. My very first pap smear, I had came back with abnormal cells so instead of not having to have another one for three years, I had to keep going back because cervical cancer was a concern. THANKFULLY, my last one finally came back with no abnormal cells. It was something that was a stressor for years (especially when the pandemic hit and closed everything down making me unable to get into the doctors on time for my yearly pap smear).

The reason I try to stay so on top of my health and regular blood work is because I know I have not been kind to my body, I’ve had some things in the past that have wrecked havoc on my body, and I just have a family history of certain things so I try to look out for those. As I mentioned earlier, thyroid disease is super common on both sides of my family so I started getting regular thyroid panels done when I was in college

Last year, I was officially diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune disorder. Essentially, this means my body is slowly attacking my thyroid and eventually it won’t be able to function on its own and I’ll need to go on medication. There’s no predicting when that might be, but given my family history, it’s likely that it will happen. My endocrinologist has also told me pretty much at every appointment I’ve had with him that I’m more likely to miscarry because of my diagnosis.

The thyroid controls a lot in the body hormone wise and it’s not uncommon for thyroid diseases to cause mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Anxiety is typically associated with hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid), while depression is typically associated with hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid). This is one of the main reasons why I have been getting blood work for my thyroid for years. My mental health at one point was so bad, I was looking for answers and explanations everywhere.

If you’re trying to focus on your mental health, it’s important to also take care of your physical health. It might not seem like they’re connected, but they are. I’m not saying it’s easy, because I have been that person who neglected their physical AND mental health because I just didn’t want to be alive. But, you deserve to be mentally and physically healthy.

I also do want to acknowledge that I am VERY lucky to have insurance and my mom’s help to be able to see all of these doctors to try and maintain my health. If not having insurance is a barrier to getting regular check-ups, I would recommend looking into getting Husky through Access Health CT. Below is some information about them:

Access Health CT  is Connecticut’s official health insurance marketplace, where you can shop, compare and enroll in quality healthcare plans; and it is the only place where you can qualify for financial help to lower your costs, and if eligible, enroll in free or low-cost coverage through HUSKY Health Program (Medicaid/CHIP) or the Covered Connecticut Program.

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