Check yourself

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If you want to be resilient in a grid-down scenario, the better shape you are in, the more likely you will come out minimally damaged. If you are on this site because you hope to be a medical resource in a grid-down situation, you need to do everything you can to not become a casualty.

So here’s a little Rx that nobody is bound to love, but is highly recommended.

If you haven’t been to the doctor and gotten a full physical examination in a while, do it. Make sure you get a full blood panel and comprehensive metabolic panel done as well.

Dudes, this means the prostate exam. Ladies, get up into those stirrups. We’re talking the full gamut here.

Why?

You want to find out how healthy you are now, so you can take steps to be as healthy as possible if the grid goes down. Make sure that there aren’t things going on with you that are precursors to more serious things that can develop. You want to find out what your cholesterol levels are, both LDL and HDL, and also your triglycerides. You want to find out your cholesterol ratio, which is your total cholesterol / HDL. An OK ratio is 5:1 total cholesterol to HDL or lower. The lower the better.

The metabolic panel is going to give you things like your fasting plasma glucose (FPG) level, and help determine the health of your liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Your electrolyte levels – potassium, sodium, chloride, and calcium – are important indicators of health, and when out-of-whack, can really do you some harm.

If you have a family history of Type II diabetes or have signs and symptoms of metabolic syndrome, get your A1C tested in addition to the FPG to see if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic.

You want to take serial blood pressure measurements, not just one or two a year. Get a bunch of them over a week or two at least twice a day to get trend data. If it’s high, then you need to work on correcting it through those boring old standards of diet, exercise, and possibly medications.

If you have family histories of heart disease and your health is questionable, you may want to ask for:

  • An electrocardiogram (EKG), which can show the health of your electrical pathways that pace the contraction and relaxation of your heart muscles, the condition of the heart muscle, and some indication if there are blockages to coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscles
  • An echocardiogram (ECHO), which helps show condition of the heart muscle, how well blood is moving through the chambers of your heart, and the health of the valves that control the blood flow through the heart

Finally, go to the dentist and get those choppers cleaned and fixed. You don’t want someone removing an abscessed tooth with pliers and bourbon in the field a year from now if you can get it done in a nice clean  office with Oprah on the TV and lots of novocain.

Get these things done as soon as you can, so you know how healthy you are. Knowing where you stand helps you figure out how you will be able to help in a grid-down scenario.

Use the results of the physical as a baseline to drive your diet and fitness regimen.

Treat your health as something you actively manage and don’t let it get away from you because it will be a lot harder to get in back when the lights are off.

You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

 

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