COVID brain? Me too.

Let’s look at what we’ve missed this past year, besides all the really obvious things.

Specifically let’s look at regular health care. Regular checkups and care are important for everyone.

Child and Teen Checkups offer thorough, hands-on health checks for babies, young children and adolescents. In children, developmental delays or hearing and vision problems which are found early and treated can be life changing. Adolescents who visit with a healthcare provider regularly benefit from asking questions about their changing bodies and social relationships.

The same is true as we age. Annual checkups for adults from 21 to 101 are important and valuable. When silent health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure are found early they are easier to treat and do less damage to our bodies. Catching chronic disease early can also be life changing.

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Key to getting thorough and helpful annual checkups is having a primary healthcare provider. Find a provider you are comfortable with and whom you trust. When you know they are familiar with you, your health history and lifestyle, it’s easier for you to schedule and keep that annual visit.

If you already have a primary provider, or even if you are seeing someone for the first time, remember to advocate for yourself. Make a list of questions and concerns you want to talk about at your visit. I personally find this very helpful and my provider appreciates that our conversation can be tailored and more effective.

If you have lab work or scans, make sure to ask how you will get the results and how they will be explained to you. Don’t be shy about asking questions. Don’t be shy about asking for information or a clarification, to make sure you are on the same page as your provider.

Ultimately you are your best advocate. But that also means you have to initiate the process by calling and making an appointment for your annual exam. If you are an adult who has children, make their appointment for them. If you are an adult who has aging parents, encourage them to get in for their annual Medicare physical. If you are sandwiched in between, pick up the phone and make your own appointment.

It’s past time to get back on track. Take charge of your health and wellbeing. Pick up the phone and schedule your annual physical with your healthcare provider today. If you don’t have a provider, go to a local clinic’s website for information about their providers and contact information. Don’t miss out on the benefits of annual medical checkups, no matter what age you are.

Marcia Schroeder is a registered nurse with Horizon Public Health, which serves five counties, including Douglas County. Contact Schroeder at marcias@horizonph.org.