Updates from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation
January is often the month of resolutions. We promise ourselves to eat healthy, get more exercise, drink lots of water, and manage areas of self-care that we’ve let slip by during the year.
With so many distractions during COVID-19, many have ignored basic health and medical needs. This year, make a resolution to calendar and get current on your screenings and medical appointments to ensure you are in the best shape possible.
While many people are very conscientious about making an annual appointment to see their doctor, others find it easy to procrastinate. The most important factors in how often you should see your doctor are risk, any chronic health concerns you have, and your potential of contracting disease.
For those under 30 and healthy, it is a good idea to get a check-up every two to three years. For those 30 to 50 years old, it is recommended to get an annual physical. Diabetes and hypertension, for example, often do not cause symptoms and should be diagnosed as early as possible. At 40, women should consider the benefit of an annual mammogram. For people over 50, annual physicals become much more important as do other screenings and tests. Overweight individuals or those with a family history of a chronic disease should follow your physician’s advice regarding frequency of visits.
Screening tests are important because they help discover potential medical issues early, sometimes even before you have symptoms. Your doctor will recommend a schedule of tests for you based on your current medical situation and family history.
The following tests and screenings are suggested for men and women age 40 and up. Blood pressure, blood, urine and cholesterol tests can often be given at your doctor’s office. Routine screening for colorectal cancer should begin at 50 unless you have increased risk. Adults that are obese or overweight should have a diabetes test. Additionally, women should make sure they are getting a Pap smear. Men should have a prostate screen.
Heart health is very important. Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH) offers a cardiac well screening test which is a low dose CT (computed tomography) monitoring of the heart that determines the age of coronary vessels and determines potential risk of heart attack. SNMH also offers bone density testing which can determine if you have osteoporosis. If you have a history of smoking, the hospital also offers lung screenings.
It is important to schedule visits to the dentist once or twice a year. Also, follow your provider’s recommendation regarding an eye exam. Keep track of your immunizations including flu shots, shingles vaccine (after age 50), tetanus, and other recommended immunizations if you are high risk for certain conditions. Examine your skin regularly for discolorations or moles and speak to your doctor if you notice changes.
One advantage is early detection generally leads to less expensive medical treatment. In addition, when you have regular checkups, there is a greater chance of discovering health issues early and getting them treated before they become serious.
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