Coping with persistent Lyme—or any serious illness that goes on for a long time—often becomes a part-time or even full-time job.
With so many medical appointments and medications to keep track of, not to mention feeling rotten, you might be letting some important things slide.
Here’s a reminder of items to put on your calendar:
- Dental check-up and cleaning. See your dentist once a year; neglecting your teeth could cost you in the long run. Your dentist not only catches problems with your teeth before they reach a crisis stage, but checks for mouth cancer as well. Untreated gum disease can lead to the loss of your teeth; studies suggest it may cause strokes or heart attacks.
- Colonoscopy. The schedule varies depending on your age, race, and family history. Colon cancer may not cause symptoms until it is pretty advanced. Don’t take chances.
- Annual skin check—or an immediate appointment if you see something suspicious. Skin cancer rates are higher than those for any other form of cancer. A dermatologist can readily recognize both dangerous skin cancers and potential troublemakers, hopefully catching them before they spread. This infographic from the American Cancer Society tells the story.
- Gynecological/Prostate exam. Okay, so no woman or man looks forward to these appointments. But getting checked out sure beats the life-threatening alternative.
- Eye exam. See your doctor at least every two years for things like macular degeneration and glaucoma (yearly if over 60) and be sure to alert the doc to your lyme infection, which may impact your eyes.
And don’t forget your annual physical. Your Lyme literate doctor is covering a lot of bases, and may well catch something amiss that’s not related to tick-borne infections.
Nonetheless, it’s important to maintain appointments with your primary care physician, who goes through an exam with a fresh eye and check basics like cholesterol. Put your general practitioner and Lyme doctor in touch to ensure that your care is complete.