During the pandemic, many adults have been hesitant to visit their healthcare providers. Postponing preventive care appointments, however, can be risky. Providers have developed reliable protocols to help keep you safe. Now is the time to stop putting off necessary preventive care and start putting your health first.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, other illnesses haven’t taken a break. Preventive care helps detect diseases and other medical problems before they can become more serious. Some examples of preventative health services include:
• Annual check-up. Visiting your doctor once a year is essential in catching health concerns early, before they become major medical problems.
• Mammogram. Routine x-rays of breast tissue to check for any signs of cancer or other abnormalities.
• Colonoscopy. An exam that is used to find problems in the colon or rectum, including colon cancer.
• PSA blood test. Screening for prostate cancer.
• Pap test and/or HPV test. Screening for cervical cancer.
• Immunizations. In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine, other important shots for older adults include the flu vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine and the shingles vaccine.
Depending on your age, family history and other factors, you may also need additional preventive care.
And, of course, if you think you have a medical problem that’s urgent, don’t postpone treatment. You may complicate your condition or make your recovery more difficult.
If you haven’t seen your dentist in a while, now is the time to make an appointment. Keeping up with dentist appointments is particularly important for older adults, as certain oral health issues are associated with aging teeth and gums.
There is also a connection between oral health and overall health: Some chronic diseases associated with age — such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease — can manifest themselves in the mouth. Additionally, research suggests that gum disease may even contribute to certain conditions prevalent in older adults, including heart disease, stroke and respiratory problems.
Do not delay a visit to your eye care professional — especially if you are older. Some age-related eye conditions can irreparably damage your vision if not treated in a timely manner, including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and glaucoma. Vision problems may develop with no noticeable symptoms until advanced stages, so it’s important to make regular preventive appointments.
Sources: CDC; AARP; Bausch + Lomb; and Delta Dental