An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of later treatment.
What’s your schedule for the rest of the year? We hope it includes your annual preventive screenings. The pandemic has made this a chaotic time, but that doesn’t mean you should put your health on hold.
“These visits are an opportunity to discuss critical aspects of preventive care,” says Michael Braunsky, DO, Family Medicine Physician at Prevea Health. “These can vary from diet and exercise habits to immunizations and screenings.”
“Patients who follow up regularly with their primary care provider have been shown to benefit from fewer premature deaths,” adds Leif Magnusson, DO, Family Medicine Residency Faculty at Prevea Health. “This is mostly achieved by screening for common health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Primary care providers can also assist you in getting a handle on these issues before they become uncontrolled.”
Talk It Out
Screenings allow your provider to check for health concerns before you have symptoms. Your age, health history and several other factors will affect when and how you should receive preventive health screenings. For example, some women benefit from starting breast cancer screenings at age 50, as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. However, women who have a higher risk of breast cancer could begin screenings as early as age 40.
Maintaining a close and consistent relationship with your provider helps you receive care tailored to your specific health needs. If you’re not sure where to start, see “Questions to Ask During Your Wellness Visit.”
Prevention During the Pandemic
“I understand why patients may feel hesitant to come into the clinic because they are worried of contracting COVID-19,” Dr. Braunsky says. “Several of my patients have expressed the same concern to me, but I encourage them to continue seeing me and their other providers regularly.”
We are taking multiple safety measures to ensure you stay safe during your doctor’s visit, including enforcing universal masking, sanitizing rigorously, limiting time in waiting rooms, and practicing social distancing. Skipping important screenings may be detrimental to your health.
“Making sure vaccines, especially flu shots, are current is probably one of the most important issues during this time,” Dr. Magnusson says. “If we can decrease the number of people who require hospitalization for the flu, we can improve the chances of every person receiving the care they need.”
5 Questions to Ask During Your Wellness Visit
- Do you have my current health history? Are there any gaps I can fill in?
- How is my blood pressure? Cholesterol levels? Heart rate?
- Is my body mass index (BMI) healthy?
- What is my risk for diabetes?
- Which cancer screenings should I receive, and when?
You may also be interested in “Do You Know Your Cancer Risk?”