Let’s face it—the past few years were stressful on all of us. The pandemic steamrolled what once felt normal and now many of us are still looking to find our equilibrium. Some of us are anxious, tired and depressed, while others are in chronic pain from placing physical and mental health problems on the back burner.
Because September is national Self-Improvement Month, it’s the perfect time to take stock and take back the steps to better self-care that you may have let slip. It’s understandable that in our fast-paced culture, your health and well-being can get lost among family and work priorities and everyday responsibilities. Yet one of the most important investments you can make in living life well is to be intentional in taking care of you.
Top Self-Care Health Screenings
Self-care covers a wide range of practices from meeting your basic food, clothing and shelter needs to taking that exotic vacation break. Staying aware of your health maintenance and preventative care is a self-care practice that will help keep everything else in your life running smoothly. For example, if you have a persistent cough, it’s hard to enjoy outings with your friends. If your knees are inflamed, exercise is a chore.
Talk with your Think Whole Person Healthcare provider about the screenings that are recommended for your age and your health history. The following are health screenings and tests that can improve your day-to-day health and literally save your life.
Medicare pays for one annual wellness visit a year and typically covers health screenings and tests for senior adults. Many medical plans will also pay for a complete annual physical and cover several of these proactive medical screenings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled an extensive list of recommended vaccinations for all ages. Currently at think, we have both COVID-19 vaccines/boosters and flu shots available. The CDC recommends that adults over 50 receive immunizations for pneumonia, shingles, hepatitis B, COVID-19 and influenza.
Blood pressure check
High blood pressure has no warning signs or symptoms and can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. Measuring blood pressure regularly can help diagnose a cardiovascular health problem early. Talk with your think healthcare team about how often you should have your blood pressure checked.
Excess cholesterol, fatty deposits in your arteries, can lead to top causes of death in the United States—heart disease and stroke. Most healthy adults starting at age 20 should have their cholesterol checked at least once every five years.
Mammography and pelvic exam for women
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms after age 40 until age 54, for women who are in good health. After age 55, healthy women can switch to a mammogram every two years. Check with your think physician about the frequency of your human papillomavirus (HPV) and Pap tests.
Prostate exam with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for men
The American Cancer Society recommends prostate exams starting at age 40. Men with a PSA of 2.5 or less may only need a prostate exam every two years. Men with a PSA of 2.5 or above should be screened annually. Each male patient should discuss the pros and cons of prostate screening with his doctor.
Colorectal cancer screening
Colorectal cancer screening is advised at age 45 for individuals with an average risk. People at higher risk for colorectal cancer may need to start screening before age 45. Your think healthcare provider will review your risk factors and personal/family history to determine the frequency of this cancer screening for you.
Roughly 37 million Americans are diabetic, but about 1 in 5 do not know they have diabetes. Check with your think doctor about the frequency of diabetes screenings for your optimal health.
Total skin evaluation
People at higher risk for skin cancer or over age 40 may need a thorough yearly skin check. The screening checks for moles, lesions or growths on your skin that are unusual in size, color, shape or texture.
Eye exam and glaucoma testing
A yearly exam is recommended if you have vision problems or are at risk for eye disease. The National Eye Institute notes that a comprehensive dilated exam “is the single best thing you can do for your eye health.”
Dental and periodontal disease exam
The general guideline for dental checkups is twice a year to help prevent and detect cavities, gum disease and oral cancer. Keeping your mouth healthy is essential to overall health.
Depression is more than occasional sadness and symptoms include loss of interest in regular activities, anger, irritability, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or thoughts of self-harm. If you are showing signs of depression that make it difficult to function at work or home, your physician may give you a depression test.
Bone density scan (DEXA)
A bone density scan measures how much calcium and other minerals are in your bones. The low-dose x-ray of your bone health helps detect osteoporosis and the risk for bone fractures. The test is recommended for all women starting at age 65. Postmenopausal women under age 65 who are at increased risk for osteoporosis should also have the scan.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening
A one-time abdominal aortic aneurysm screening with ultrasonography is recommended for men ages 65 to 75 who are or were smokers.
It is important to stay attuned to your self-care and report any changes in your health to your doctor. Your think healthcare providers can walk you through which of these health screenings are a higher priority for you and when you should schedule them.
Simple Self-Care Steps
The following are some ideas for blending easy self-care habits into your daily routines. Be sure you do not try every practice all at once. Choose one or two self-care steps a day and see what works best for you. The idea is to nourish your mind, body and spirit without stressing over a to-do list.
- Exercise and keep your body moving.
- Enjoy some sunshine.
- Eat nutritionally and stay hydrated.
- Relax in a bubble bath.
- Read a book or listen to an audiobook.
- Watch an uplifting movie.
- Take a nap.
- Enjoy peaceful silence.
- Try meditation.
- Reduce your negative self-talk.
- Unplug from your electronic devices.
- Try a new hobby.
- Learn a new skill.
- Practice gratitude.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SELF-CARE AND HEALTH SCREENINGS BY SPEAKING WITH OUR PROVIDERS
Think makes it easy to receive your health screenings and information on consistently maintaining your everyday health. Our comprehensive team of primary care physicians, advanced practice providers and specialists are here to keep you healthy and enjoying life.
If you need quick medical assistance, same-day appointments are available, or our walk-in clinic treats anyone, even those who are not a think patient or do not have a primary care provider currently. To learn more about our wide range of affordable care, visit our Services page online and choose your own think medical professionals by visiting our Meet Your Doctor page.