Preventative Care & Routine Exams Are More Important Than Ever
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent shutdown measures in different states, fewer patients are visiting their healthcare providers for routine exams. However, regular exams are an important component of preventative care for many patients, as they provide an opportunity to detect signs or symptoms of disease as early as possible.
While it is understandable that many people want to avoid going to hospitals for fear of COVID-19 infection, it’s critical that patients continue to receive preventative care. Here are some of the reasons why preventative care and routine exams are more essential than ever.
Early Detection of Cancer and Other Conditions
Many of the routine screens, such as mammograms, pap smears, and colonoscopies, are intended to detect early signs of cancer. These screenings need to be conducted as often as is recommended to minimize the chances of undiagnosed cancer spreading within the body. Cancer affects each patient differently, and it would make a timely difference if cancer were discovered in a patient’s body before it had a chance to affect other areas of the body.
Additionally, a late cancer diagnosis could mean that the patient will be less responsive to treatment, increasing the likelihood of an unsuccessful outcome. Many cancers also do not show physical signs during the early stages of growth unless diagnosed by a specific exam. Some of the routine cancer screenings are age-appropriate, meaning that it is in the best interest of a patient to visit their medical provider for a routine exam when recommended.
Protection From Diseases
In general, preventative care provides protection against diseases with known vaccinations, reducing the risk of patients contracting these diseases. For example, receiving the annual flu vaccine can protect patients from contracting the seasonal flu, which can be serious for people with underlying conditions. While some patients might have strong immunity against the flu, others might be severely affected, posing a risk of death.
Preventative checkups also allow medical providers to identify any potential issues during a routine exam. For example, a patient might show signs of high blood pressure during an exam without even realizing it was a problem. Doctors may be able to catch heart disease, lung disease and other potential health issues with a routine exam.
Systems Have Adapted to COVID-19 Safety Measures
It is also important to realize that COVID-19 will probably be here for much longer. Many healthcare providers and administrators have spent time learning how to approach better healthcare delivery during this period.
A number of practitioners across the country are using telemedicine to provide quality healthcare to their patients. While this might not be the same as in-person provider-patient appointments, it eliminates the safety concerns patients may have with coming into a healthcare facility.
Medical providers have also put measures in place to protect you during your visit to the clinic or hospital for routine exams. In many facilities, both patients and staff are screened prior to coming in, and surfaces are frequently disinfected to minimize the risk of infection.
Many healthcare facilities, including Preventative Diagnostic Center, are also strictly enforcing COVID-19 safety policies that include wearing masks, maintaining appropriate social distance in all common areas and avoiding contact as much as possible.
Mental Health Screenings
An often-forgotten component of routine exams is a mental health screening, which helps doctors to determine which resources might be helpful to a patient. Many people struggle with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, which can be diagnosed and managed better when patients come in for routine exams.
With increased social isolation resulting from COVID-19 quarantine measures, more patients have found themselves struggling to cope. Having someone to talk to helps to deal with any concerns or issues and prevents patients from feeling lonely and overwhelmed.
Keeps Patients Accountable
Frequent visits to your doctor’s office also help to keep you accountable regarding any lifestyle changes. For example, if you are struggling with maintaining a healthy diet, frequent checkups can help to keep track of any progress you have made towards this goal.
Routine exams also allow providers to check in on patients living in at-risk situations. Some people may live in abusive environments or unstable conditions, making them vulnerable to various health conditions. By having these patients come in consistently, providers can make well-informed decisions regarding the best course of action for these patients.
Staying On Top of Your Health
If you have not already, remember to schedule and keep your routine exams with your doctor. The sooner you catch health issues, the better your chances are of successful treatment. Consider talking to your doctor about preventative scans that can help you stay on top of your health, such as a heart CT scan with calcium score. This can tell you your risk level of suffering a heart attack and how aggressive you should be about making healthy lifestyle changes.
To learn about preventative low-dose CT scans offered at Preventative Diagnostic Center in Las Vegas, call our team today! We make important health screenings accessible for all patients, so you can take control of your health and start living your best life today.
Dr. John J. Pierce is the Medical Director at Preventative Diagnostic Center. He is Board-certified in Emergency Medicine as well as Board-certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He received his medical training from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, in Pomona California. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition to his regular practice, Dr. Pierce serves as a Tactical Physician with the Las Vegas SWAT team.