The holiday season is upon us, and the new year will soon follow. Before the year ends, why not make time to focus on your health so you can end the year strong. Here are a few ways to give yourself the gift of health this season and set yourself up for a healthy next year.
Get an Annual Check-up
Never skip — or even put off — an annual exam. Not only does this yearly visit give your doctor an opportunity to identify any changes in your physical or mental health, it provides time to learn about disease prevention, early detection and recommended screenings. When problems are detected early during routine annual exams, it helps prevent serious illness. Even if you are young and “feel fine,” maintaining your health now leads to healthier aging. During this visit, it’s also important to get an annual flu vaccine, a COVID-19 booster, and any other vaccines for which you may be due.
Pardee BlueMD offers availability and new patient appointments at many of its locations throughout the region.
For Women, Make Sure to Get the Recommended Screenings
National guidelines recommend that women with an average risk of developing cervical cancer have a Pap test every three years, beginning at age 21. Additionally, women should consider having an HPV (human papillomavirus) screening every five years, beginning at age 30. Pardee’s Find a Doctor tool can help you find a women’s health provider or call (828) 696-0897 to make an appointment.
If you aren’t sure what screenings you need for your age and stage in life, check out The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Well-Woman Chart outlining the preventive care, screenings and immunizations a woman needs at every stage of her life.
Schedule Routine Cancer Screenings
The American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines recommend yearly mammograms for women with an average risk of developing breast cancer, beginning at age 40. For women with dense breast tissue, Pardee offers advanced technology such as Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS), an imaging tool that improves breast cancer detection in women with dense breasts by more than 37% when used along with (not in place of) mammography. To schedule a mammogram or learn more about breast health visit pardeehospital.org.
Men and women with average risk of developing colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50. There also are stool-based tests that are less invasive than a colonoscopy, but need to be done more often and an abnormal result would need to be followed up with a colonoscopy. Your doctor can help you choose a screening method that’s best for you in terms of your age and risk factors.
Men who are age 50 or older with average risk of developing prostate cancer may consider getting a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. This test might also be accompanied by a digital rectal exam. The American Cancer Society’s Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines can offer more information, and to find a provider near you visit pardeehospital.org.
Schedule a Procedure You Have Put Off
The new year will reset health plan deductibles and any funds remaining in a flexible spending account (FSA) or health spending account (HSA) will expire. That is why the end of the year is an ideal time to use your remaining FSA or HSA funds to optimize a deductible that’s been met to take care of any procedures or surgeries – orthopedics, for example – that you may have been putting off.