Your health means everything: Taking care of yourself in a post-Pandemic world

by Kathleen Hirsch-Lanute, Chief Nursing Officer, SageWest Health Care

Life has changed in many ways over the last year. Plans were suspended and priorities shifted as we cautiously made our way through a situation that we had never imagined would happen. As we get closer to putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind us thanks to vaccine development and safe practices. Many of us are looking forward to getting back to the things we have been missed, like vacations, social gatherings, and even just dropping by a friend’s or loved ones for a coffee catch-up.

There is one priority, however, that we have all shared during the pandemic that should remain high on your list: your health.

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We have put a lot of time and energy into protecting ourselves and others from COVID-19, and that is very important. However, taking care of your health means a lot more than successfully staying virus-free. It means taking charge of your wellness so you can stay on top of any issues that arise before they become serious. It means not delaying the care you need to feel better and get healthier so you can fully enjoy all of those things we’ve missed lately. Here are some of the most important ways you can keep your health a priority in the months and years to come.

Schedule screen time
No, not movie time. We’re talking health screenings that are important markers on your health journey like annual mammograms if you’re a woman who’s 40 and older, annual colonoscopies if you’re 45 and older and low dose CT screening if you’re a current or former smoker. Screenings like these can help detect cancer early and allow for appropriate and more effective treatment. And remember, if you’re at higher risk, you may need to start annual screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies earlier. Talk to your doctor about your risks and the right timing for you. It’s no surprise that American Cancer Society (ACS) researchers estimate that almost 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2021, and the ACS is projecting an increase in late-stage diagnoses and preventable cancer deaths due to delayed care. If you’ve been putting off your screening during this last year, now is a great time to get it on the calendar and get the peace of mind it can bring.

Check-in with a check-up
Like regular screenings, annual wellness visits with a trusted primary care provider play a key role in your overall health and well-being. That goes for all ages. They help you and your provider establish a trusting and informed relationship that can help you both stay up to date on your unique health needs and stay on top of any issues that may arise. Knowing your family medical history and health risks, your provider can help you keep track of those annual screenings, as well as any potential issues to watch out for.

Don’t gamble with your health
Emergencies are an unforeseen combination of circumstances that calls for immediate action. When one puts your health at immediate risk, it is vital that you get the care you need as soon as possible. Don’t wait, because an emergency will not wait for you. If you’re experiencing chest pain or any other medical emergency or injury, minutes do matter. It is critical that you get to the hospital and get the care you need when you need it.

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Live healthy
Creating good habits and routines can go a long way towards keeping you healthy and ready to embrace all life has to offer. Eating healthy, engaging in regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and taking care of your mental health all have major benefits for your health, and can help reduce your risk for many diseases. If you’re struggling in any of these areas or just aren’t sure where to get started, talk with your primary care provider. They can help you with advice or point you in the direction of any specialized care you may need to feel your best.

Your health affects every other aspect of your life. Without it, it’s a lot more difficult to enjoy the people and things in your life that bring you joy. So, don’t let it wait. Get the care you need. Start a new healthy habit. Schedule that check-up and screening. Take care of your health. It means everything.

If you are looking for a provider, need to schedule a screening, or looking to make an appointment, SageWest Health Care can help. Call 332.4420 or 856.4161 or visit SageWestHealthCare.com to get connected with the care you need.

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