family practice issues and general life events

Posts tagged ‘guidance’

Regular check ups

Sorry about the length of time between posts, but returning to real life seems to have gotten in the way.  It is funny how returning to vacation always does that to you.

 

Today I wish to address the importance of regular check ups.  Check ups are an easy thing to overlook, and once all of the vaccinations are complete, parents tend to focus more on sick visits and such.  However, regular check ups, about once a year for children over two, are in fact an important need in a child’s life.  It is through check ups that developmental delays are addressed.  For example if you only bring your child in for strep throat, which is usually a shorter work in visits, a delay in speech or other aspects might be missed.  And in the case of speech, the earlier the intervention, the better the end result might be.

 

Additionally, important tests such as lead levels, and blood counts can be drawn at routine visits to make sure that the child is not anemic, or have to be treated for too much lead which can lead to development problems in brain development.  Lead level tests are especially important for those living in old houses that might have lead based paint, which could be covered up by newer paint or still there.  And in recent years, toys from China keep being recalled due to lead based paint in them.  These make no one immune from the need for lead testing.  Current recommendations are for lead tests to be done at 12 and 24 months and when exposure is suspected.

 

For those with healthy children, not needing vaccinations, health check ups are also important.  It is at these, that time is allowed in the schedule for questions that parents might have, and to discuss important landmarks.  Sometimes the questions are simple, like child number one was already walking at this age, why isn’t he?  Sometimes they are more complicated, and might need further work up and discussion.  Additionally, it is even more important today with the rapid increase in childhood obesity.  Early intervention can help to prevent the diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes in children, and discussion of appropriate food intake is always important.  While juice is often marketed on the television as a healthy alternative to soda, many juices out there have just as much if not more sugar than soda, and in any case should be limited to two servings a day.

 

The older child has issues such as puberty, diet fads, drug and alcohol usage.  All that should be address, as well as STD prevention.  These are important to have before the child is sexually active.  I can’t tell you how many times, I have had these conversations with teenagers which have no idea, what STDs are nor what they can cause in the long term.  And many times, parents are shocked to find out that their child is sexually active.  So it is important to address all of these issues before they are a problem

 

Anyway, children in all stages of development need to have routine checkups  If only to prevent potential future problems.  In most cases it is easier to prevent the disease from happening, than to treat it later

 

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