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Why talking about your health concerns is critical

It takes more than a good diet, exercise and the occasional check-up to maintain good health.

To ensure your health is properly addressed, you also need to practise healthy communication habits. Regardless of how well you currently feel, remembering to be open, honest and proactive about any health issues or incidents with your loved ones, as well as your GP and specialists, can help reduce risk factors both now and in the future. So, let’s talk about it.


First, what kind of health concerns should you take seriously? Put it this way: “It’s better to be safe than sorry” is a cliché for a reason. Realistically, you probably won’t pick up the phone every time you get a sniffle or niggle. That’s understandable. However, aches and pains that linger or don’t quite feel normal are always problems worth mentioning. Even if you don’t feel overly sick or injured, that doesn’t mean an underlying issue can’t develop and potentially worsen. 

If in doubt, bring it up. There’s no harm discussing a slight concern with a friend, family member or medical professional. When it turns out to be nothing, you’ll walk away with peace of mind. On the other hand, should there be something to worry about, you’ll have jumped on the case as early as possible. And the sooner it’s diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated or managed with a  higher chance of reaching a successful outcome.


Your body is yours, but your health is a team effort. Monitoring and managing your personal health and wellbeing should be a genuine collaboration involving the most important people in your life – close friends and family members including your partner, parents, children, grandchildren or siblings.

Getting your loved ones involved in health discussions ensures people other than you are aware of what’s going on, the signs and symptoms to look out for, the questions to ask, the medications to be taken, and who to call if a situation deteriorates. Don’t keep bad falls, lasting ailments or mental health issues to yourself. Most of the time this sharing of responsibility is a comforting precaution. In extreme circumstances, it might just save your life. And while we’re talking about emergencies, acting tough or putting on a brave face is never worth the risk. If you think you might be in trouble, get help immediately.


Talking about your health to loved ones is important, but informing doctors, nurses, physicians or carers of real health concerns is absolutely critical – sometimes literally. This means straight away, not when you reluctantly get around to it. Whether or not you care to admit it, a stubborn attitude can get in the way of good health.

Any adult, but particularly those of retirement age, should visit their GP regularly to cover the following:

  • Height and weight measurement
  • Blood pressure check
  • Cholesterol level check
  • Blood sugar test, and
  • Ear, eye and throat checks, among others.

Heavy smokers should have chest x-rays, while those at a higher risk of heart disease should ask for an ECG (electrocardiogram).  

Beyond these basic health checks, your GP is also there to answer a wide variety of queries and concerns. These appointments are opportunities to get straight to the point. You might need additional tests. You might need a referral to see a specialist. Whatever the case may be, your GP will guide you through the process. That said, your family doctor is not a miracle worker. To do their job effectively, they need you to be completely honest about your condition and experiences. 

By treating your short and long-term health as an ongoing conversation, you’re giving yourself the best chance of maintaining your quality of life long into retirement. Forming healthy habits helps to slow physical decline and prevent major problems. One of these healthy habits is strong, consistent communication. And besides, you’ll feel better when you get it off your chest.