My sister Enrika looked slightly incredulous, on Zoom, when I told her that I had been declared “fit and healthy” by a qualified doctor, following a recent full-body health check.
I was appalled that she wasn’t happier for me. “But what about your back?” she protested.
The penny dropped. She took my “fit” to mean that a qualified medical professional had declared me “fit” to run a marathon or swim the Channel. This, of course, is not where I am at physically. When I ran down through the more medical laboratory-type results that I had been screened for – bloods, cardiovascular, senses, blood pressure and cholesterol – she seemed a little bit more believing.
I will be eternally grateful that it became part of my cost of living
I was 25 when I started working in the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA). After the “you are still here so take it you are not fired” period had passed, my pay cheque revealed a deduction for health insurance, about which I protested vehemently, confident in my youthful invincibility. There was, however, no turning on this and the health insurance would be paid. Although I didn’t need it for a long time, thankfully, I will be eternally grateful that it became part of my cost of living.
Health insurance is not something that should be considered a luxury and yet it remains outside of the realm of affordability for many people. There is an accepted “with and without private health insurance” tier but, in reality, another tier exists – hospital to hospital.
The service was great and thankfully my results were good
Where I had my screening was a step up in every way to where I had my children, or even the private hospital where my back surgeries were done. The service was great and thankfully my results were good, but in the modern era this is how medical treatment should be everywhere.
Within the health screen, there is a social history. Your family medical history, smoking status, units of alcohol consumed, activity and diet. The last two on this list were mood and sleep – a gauge of your mental state. In this week’s Consumer Watch, Barbara Sheahan from comparison site Healthcare Compare details the mental health benefits that may be included in your health insurance plan that you might be unaware off. Counselling and meditation sessions are included in some plans.
Physical health underpins mental health and to support this some health plans include gym memberships and access to dieticians. A very tangible link between mental and physical health is discussed by Margaret Hawkins on our health pages this week). She speaks with two doctors about the male menopause – or testosterone deficiency – and how it is treated. Dr Emmett Byrne explains that many men present to him with anxiety that results from a drop in their testosterone levels.
It is worth reviewing your health insurance to see what mental health benefits are available to you
The importance of diet cannot be underestimated for our health. Just last week, a new report was released by the Government’s Joint Committee on Health which highlights the potential of vitamin D to protect us against viruses including COVID-19. Home Nurse Nessa Robins has a few vitamin D-rich recipes to help us incorporate it into our daily menu.
It is worth reviewing your health insurance to see what mental health benefits are available to you or if a health check is even partially covered. Get your money’s worth.