Spring Forward into March
By: Karla Vital, MD
March brings spring flowers, as well as reminders to check on our health. As the flowers bloom around us, remember that they also need to be watered and nurtured. If they are neglected, then they eventually wilt and fade away. So take time to care for yourself like a precious flower, and schedule your preventive check-ups this month.
I have highlighted a few things to be aware of during the month of March, that are especially important for women. They include the following: Endometriosis Awareness, Kidney Awareness, and Colorectal Cancer Awareness. It is National Kidney Awareness Month. Nearly 30 million Americans have some form of kidney disease but don’t even know it. In fact the best way to detect kidney disease involves two very simple tests: a urinalysis for protein, and a blood test for GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate). Early detection of kidney disease can prevent progression, so it is extremely important to schedule a checkup. Risk factors include a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune conditions, and a family history of kidney disease. Repeat and regular testing of kidney function is important. Early referral to a Nephrologist (Kidney Doctor) can improve survival, as well as decrease the likelihood of emergent hospitalization. In March we also raise awareness about National Endometriosis Month. Although Endometriosis effects over 175 million women worldwide, people are still very unfamiliar with what exactly it is. It effects one in every ten women during their reproductive years. Endometriosis is a condition where the uterine lining (endometrium) is located outside of the uterus and is often associated with severe pain, heavy bleeding, painful intercourse, and scar tissue formation. Although the causes are unclear, there are available treatments which involve hormonal and surgical treatments. Finding a gynecologist that specializes in laparoscopic surgery will allow the best diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Lastly, it is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. The risk increases with age, and over 90% of cases will occur in individuals over the age 50. Some symptoms may be present, but usually at a later stage. If present, they may include blood in the stools, constipation, abdominal pain, and weight loss. People with risk factors such as a family history of cancer or multiple polyps, or who have inflammatory bowel disease warrant early screening before age 50. Scheduling a screening test with a gastroenterologist (GI Doctor), can help to determine your risk and screening guidelines.
Remember, Spring is an excellent time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Since my allergic symptoms increase during the Spring season it's always a perfect reminder for me to catch up on preventive care.
I specialize in the treatment of patients with kidney disease and hypertension, as well as obesity medicine for anyone looking to manage their weight. If you are in the Houston area, visit us today. If you prefer to schedule an appointment via telemedicine, please do so at https://www.rowedocs.com/dr-karla-vital.