Preventive Healthcare is Key


Posted By: Carol M. Pate, Ed.D.

Preventive Healthcare is Key

Preventive Care is Most Important Now

It’s not surprising that many of us didn’t go to our primary care physicians during the first pandemic months of 2020.  By May of 2020, primary health care visits declined over 60%.  That was to be expected with the lockdowns and COVID-19 fears.  What’s happened, according to RAND, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based nonprofit, is that there were far fewer colonoscopies, mammograms, blood sugar tests, vaccines for infants and toddlers, MRIs, and more across the United States. 

It might not be such a large concern if the health statistics didn’t change much, especially if people visited their physicians once the coronavirus was somewhat contained.  Unfortunately, due to many factors including fear of contacting COVID-19, individuals with emergent heart conditions such as heart attacks and who didn’t go to their physician or to the emergency rooms had a much higher rate of death than before the pandemic.  

The tremendous rise in the use of telehealth helped to connect us to our physicians, yet it still hasn’t bridged most of the gap in preventive care issues. The concern is that most of us will wait until it’s too late to see a physician about an issue that could have been treated more effectively had we seen her or him earlier.  In addition, by staying as healthy as possible, if we do by some chance become infected with the coronavirus, we stand a much better chance of having milder symptoms that don’t turn into situations needing intensive care.   

It’s now January 2021 and you’re wondering about whether to see your physician for preventive care.  Before making a decision, it’s best to talk to your doctor about the reason for your visit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It may be easiest or safest to delay some appointments or conduct them through telehealth. In other cases, it might be best to go in for your appointment as safely as possible.    

Here ae some guidelines  by health experts to consider as you decide on how to take the best care of you in 2021:

  1. First, determine your COVID-19 risk and comfort level. Talk to your physician(s) and other healthcare providers about your concerns, listen and then find a collaborative solution.  
  2. Ask about and prepare for virtual appointments. If you decide on a virtual visit, ask about what you need and how to prepare.
  3. Seek in-person care for emergencies. If you’re concerned about getting COVID-19  please talk to healthcare personnel who will give you the protocol for staying as safe as possible.
  4. Maintain ongoing care that you need for certain serious conditions. Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and COPD need ongoing and regular care.  Stay in touch with your provider to ensure you have the medicines needed as well as ongoing visits to keep your condition managed well.
  5. Keep up with your preventive care as needed. Some annual checkups are more vital than others, talk to your provider about her or his recommendations.
  6. Know that COVID-19 risk can vary based on the kind of care you’re getting. Ask about the risk whether you’re visiting an eye doctor, dentist or other physician. They will give you all the protocols they follow and let you know their expectations of protocols for you to follow.
  7. Prepare before an in-person visit. Ask about protocols and expectations. 

This does seem like a daunting list.  However, it’s clear from the past year that preventive care is even more important now than ever.  You want to catch conditions, illnesses and/or other problems before they become serious.  The healthcare system is now much more prepared than at the beginning of the pandemic. 

For more details on how to prepare for your preventative care visits, READ HERE.

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