HEALTHY YOU

Get back on track with your preventive health care

If you've put off your regular appointments during the pandemic, take the time now to schedule them

Woman getting her blood pressure checked

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

This information is provided to Johns Hopkins employees through a partnership with Aetna Resources for Living.

Working with your doctor to stay healthy is as important as getting the right treatment when you're sick. Preventive care to stave off illness and disease includes health tests, screenings, vaccines, and health counseling. Regular preventive care can help you stay healthy and live longer. Now that COVID-19 vaccinations are increasing in the U.S., this is a good time to get back on track with your preventive care visits.

Like exercise, eating right, and other things you do to keep healthy, preventive care is up to you. Talk to your doctor about which tests and vaccines you need and how often. Keep a record of all the tests you have and when, as well as the results. Mark on your calendar the dates you need to get tested again. Remember: JHU medical plans cover 100% of in-network recommended preventive care services.

Health tests

Some tests can help find problems or diseases before you start to have symptoms. Treating a health problem sooner rather than later improves your chances of getting better; it can even save your life. Your doctor will recommend tests—and how often you should have them—based on your age and gender, current health, medical history, and family history.

If you're at risk for a certain illness based on your family or medical history, your doctor may want you to get some tests sooner or more often than other people do.

If you're a woman age 50 or older, talk to your doctor about testing for:

  • Breast cancer (mammogram, self-breast, and clinical breast examinations)
  • Colorectal cancer (digital rectal examination, fecal occult blood test, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, barium enema)
  • Skin, ovarian, cervical, and other types of cancer
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis (bone density test)
  • Vision and hearing
  • Tuberculosis

If you're a man age 50 or older, ask your doctor about:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Skin and other types of cancer
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Vision and hearing
  • Tuberculosis

Vaccines

If you're past age 50, you should get a flu shot every year. Once you reach age 65, you should get a pneumonia vaccine. You also need a tetanus/diphtheria shot every 10 years. In addition, ask your doctor about vaccines for hepatitis B and chickenpox (varicella).

Counseling

Unfortunately, many doctors don't talk with patients about behaviors and lifestyle habits that could hurt their health. These are the things your doctor should ask you about. If any of them causes you problems or concern and your doctor doesn't bring them up, ask about them:

  • Alcohol use
  • Quitting smoking
  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Diet/eating right
  • Staying a healthy weight
  • Physical activity
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Sleep problems
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Sexual problems or sexually transmitted diseases
  • Prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, including supplements and herbs, that you are taking

It's a good idea to make a list of all your medicines, the doses, and how often you take them so that you don't forget. Bring the list with you to the doctor's office.

Dental care

Finally, don't forget about your teeth and mouth. Your preventive care plan should include visits once or twice a year to the dentist. Problems with your teeth, gums, and mouth could cause pain, infection, trouble eating and sleeping, and other health problems.

Medical advances and technology have greatly improved our ability to catch illnesses and diseases earlier—and to save lives. Make preventive care part of your healthy lifestyle plan. To promote health, practice prevention.

Posted in Health+Wellness

Tagged hr newswire