As the timeless saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So if you’ve been putting off routine preventive care and recommended health screenings during the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, now’s a good time to get back on track.
Our medical system is not as overburdened anymore and a lot of COVID restrictions have now been lifted, so you should be able to make your appointment. And don’t wait, because preventive health screenings save lives!
What is preventive care?
“Preventive” means you get the medical care you need before you have a problem. Think of it like this: It’s easier to carefully place a glass on a shelf than it is to clean up broken pieces after it crashes to the floor. Your body is the same way. If you get your health in order ahead of time, you can save yourself a lot of pain and work down the road.
That’s why we have annual physical checkups for older kids and adults and scheduled “well-child” exams for children.
During a physical, your doctor checks to make sure you are healthy—and that you stay that way.
- Medical history: Your doctor will talk to you about your lifestyle and any known medical issues. They will ask about your family medical history and any concerns about your health. This is also a good time to talk about family planning and other special needs you might have.
- Vital signs: Your doctor will check your weight, breathing, temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate.
- Head and neck exam: Say “ah.” Your doctor will examine your throat, nose, and ears as well as your teeth and gums.
- Other exams: Your doctor may check your stomach, reflexes, eyes, or skin. There are also specific tests that the doctor will perform, depending on your age and gender.
The meaning behind screenings
In addition to your annual physical, make sure you keep up to date on recommended routine screenings. These tests vary depending on your age and gender and can include breast, cervical, and colon cancer screening.
Screenings help detect diseases early. The earlier a disease is found, the better the chances of beating it, especially cancer and heart disease.
Talk to your doctor to see which test is suitable for you and get screened!
If you are a Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW) member and want help finding a doctor or scheduling your annual checkup or routine screening exam, give us a call at 1-800-440-1561 (TTY users, dial 711). We’re here 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- For more on health screenings, read the Health and Wellness A to Z Overview
- Use this Which Health Screening Do You Need – an interactive tool from Healthwise
- Or Use the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tool to find out what screenings you might need