How you should be taking care of your health this January

According to a doctor.

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January is a time when many of us are recovering from Christmas and slowly getting back into the swing of things at work, before the kids return to school. While January is often all about setting New Year resolutions, getting the finances sorted and organising our lives for the new year, one thing we should all be doing is prioritising our health.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all health check list for everyone, we spoke to Royal Australian College of General Practitioners spokesperson, Dr Charlotte Hespe, about common health concerns many of us would be wise to address this month.  

Health checks

45 – 60

“The new year is always a good time to look at our health and wellbeing,” says Dr Hespe. “We would recommend that anyone in the age group 45-60 consider scheduling in a preventive health check. This should cover discussing all areas of your health, such as smoking, alcohol, exercise, diet, mental health, family history and participation in screening programs for cervical, colorectal and breast cancer, as well as blood tests for cholesterol and blood sugar.”  

25 – 35

“Summer is a great opportunity for 25-35 year-olds to consider coming into their GP to touch base about any particular health concerns and discuss lifestyle issues. Similarly, this should cover smoking, alcohol, exercise, diet, mental health and specific inherited family health risks,” says Dr Hespe. “Summer is also a good time to discuss skin care and prevention of skin cancers, as well as prevention of sexually transmitted infections,”

What are the most common complaints or illnesses in January?

“January is a month where we commonly see people suffering from issues such as excess sun exposure, dehydration, insect bites, gastroenteritis and distress related to family or personal mental health problems,” says Dr Hespe.

“It is also not uncommon to see relatives of our usual patients who are in town for the holidays and need acute medical care. This is often difficult as the person may have very little documentation with them to assist in accurate care of complex medical issues.”

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