ENQUIRER: Know your vital numbers Tuesday July 2, 2013 To download a pdf of this article, please click here. Enquirer By: Toni Schklar One of the most important health and wellness choices you can make is to be a partner in your own health care. The era of the physician’s being fully responsible for our health care is past. We now have “some skin in the game” and are key players in the disease prevention portion of our own optimal functioning. The attached graphic illustrates information about key numbers. Typically, the physician brings these numbers to our attention when they are elevated and then suggests lifestyle changes and/or medications to bring the numbers back to “normal.” As partners in our health care, it is our job to track these numbers and look for trends such as gradually increasing cholesterol levels or blood pressure readings. The time for intervention is before the numbers get to the “At Risk” levels and before damage is done. If your numbers are gradually increasing at each lab test, point this out to your physician and initiate lifestyle changes to bring them down. If they are gradually decreasing, keep up the good work. What can you do? Ask for copies of your lab work and B/P readings at each physician visit. Many doctors now use the Electronic Medical Record and can give you an access code to view your own labs from your personal computer. Maintain a healthful diet, keep fit, practice stress reduction techniques and stay current with prevention screening. Ask your physician what screenings you should be having. Prevention is much easier than intervention. Know your numbers. Toni Schklar is manager and practitioner of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Holistic Health Center in Edgewood. She has more than 35 years of experience in nutrition, health and wellness, counseling and nursing.