Your New Year’s Gift

Sex and the City of New Orleans

Dr. Lisa Moreno-Walton, MD, MS, MSCR

  • Emergency Medicine Physician at University Medical Center
  • Director of Research, Diversity, Latino Health Scholars Program

For many of us, time seems to be what we need most, and “I have no time” is the excuse we give most often.  But good health, not time, is really our most precious commodity.  Good health means a strong, fit body; a mind that is clear and at peace, a spirit that is in harmony with the universe and aligned with positive energy.  This is the brand of good health that makes for good sex, and good sex, in turn, brings us physical vigor and a sense of peace and fulfillment.  When I was a young medical student, my next-door neighbor, a woman a few years older than I was, taught me a strong lesson.  On January 1, she told me, Christmas is over and your obligations to your family are met.  Now is the time to give yourself a gift, and that gift is the gift of health.  Every January 2, she would get on the phone and schedule appointments with her internist (primary care doctor), her gynecologist and her dentist.  I adopted her habit of giving myself the gift of health every year, and you should, too.

Nurse Visiting Senior Female Patient At Home Taking Blood Pressure Smiling

Everyone should see his/her primary doctor once a year for a checkup.  Routine screening of blood pressure and basic lab work will detect the risks of diabetes, hypertension, elevated cholesterol and kidney disease while it is still possible to control these problems with diet and exercise modifications.  These are diseases that impair our ability to exert ourselves, to get an erection, to see clearly, to have normal sensation; in short, they impair the ability to enjoy a good sex life!  If you already have these diseases, your doctor can help you to control them, or even to reverse the symptoms with lifestyle modifications.   Your doctor will also insure that you have the screening examinations that are necessary for your age and your risk factors.  These screening exams might include electrocardiogram, mammogram, colon cancer screening, a prostate exam, hepatitis screening or a stress test. Be sure to ask your doctor about changes that you can make to improve your ability to enjoy a long and healthy life:  weight loss, smoking cessation, stress modification, alcohol moderation, fitness programs and addiction treatment.  Unfortunately, many doctors focus on a model of treating illness rather than promoting wellness.  You need to be clear that you are interested in living your best life and don’t want to wait until you need medication or have a clinical diagnosis before you make changes! For patients of color, doctors are all too often willing to accept higher blood pressures, higher body mass indexes and worse nutritional status than they are for their white patients.  You must be an advocate for your own health!  Find a doctor who will be a partner with you on the journey to be your best self, and don’t accept anything less. 

All women should see their gynecologist yearly, especially women of reproductive age and/or women who are sexually active.  A Pap smear is not necessary for every woman every year, but your doctor will work with you to determine which examinations are necessary on your annual visit to keep your lady parts healthy, fresh, and functioning well.  Report any abnormal bleeding, discharge, unusual odors, dryness or discomfort during sexual activity. 

Your dentist is also an important partner in your overall health.  No, scanky breath and nasty teeth are not sexy!  If you can’t chew properly due to pain or damaged teeth, you will not get the adequate nutrition that makes for a vibrant, fit, beautiful bod.  So, whip out your cell phone and make those appointments!  Boogey your bad self into the roaring 20”s with the gift of health:  a fit, sexy, feels good and looks good body, living your best life! 

LET’S KEEP NEW ORLEANS BEAUTIFUL

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