Preventive screenings can help you keep healthy
SALEM – Staying well in the New Year is an important resolution, but many people avoid preventative screenings that can help keep them healthy.
This can lead to unwanted results.
“Preventative screenings and exams can catch diseases before they start or in their early stages, when they are easier to treat,” said Dawn Thomas, RN, BSN, Program Director of SRMC’s Wound Healing Center. “This is important for keeping health problems from developing into chronic conditions and preventing potential complications, which can include hard-to-heal wounds.”
Medical conditions such as diabetes, problems with the heart and veins, obesity and cancer can all affect the body’s ability to heal wounds, according to Thomas. Wounds that won’t heal may lead to infections or even possible removal of the affected limb without the proper treatment.
The tests you need and when you need them depends on your age, gender and risk factors. While you should talk with your doctor about the preventative care recommended for you, Thomas suggested these general guidelines for a healthier 2021:
20s & 30s and Beyond:
— Have your cholesterol levels checked every five years beginning at age 20. Smokers, people with diabetes and those with a family history of heart disease should have their cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis.
— Women should have regular pelvic exams and Pap tests beginning at age 21 to help prevent cervical cancer or find it early.
— Healthy adults with no vision problems should have an eye exam every five to 10 years between 20 and 30 years of age, and every two to four years between 40 and 65 years of age. If you wear glasses, have a family history of vision problems or have a disease that puts you at risk for eye disease, such as diabetes, have your eyes checked frequently.
40s and Beyond:
— Blood sugar screenings for diabetes should be taken if you are overweight or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, as well as every three years after age 45.
— Colorectal cancer screenings are recommended beginning at age 45 for those at average risk for the disease. Your doctor may recommend screening earlier, depending on your family health history and risk factors.
— Women in their 40s at average risk for breast cancer should talk to their health care providers about when to begin mammographyscreening. Those at a higher risk for developing breast cancer may need to be screened earlier.
50s and Beyond:
— The American Diabetes Association recommends that all patients over 50 years of age with diabetes undergo routine screening for peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a condition that narrows leg arteries and reduces blood flow in the legs and feet.
— Men should discuss having a prostate test and exam with their doctors by age 50; or by age 45 for those at high risk for prostate cancer, such as African Americans and those with a family history of the disease.
Age 65 and Beyond:
Women should have a DEXA bone density screening to check for signs of bone loss.
“I also recommend scheduling an annual wellness exam with your primary care provider, and having your provider check for skin abnormalities during your exam. In addition, people with diabetes should have their feet examined during regular doctor visits four times a year,” Thomas added.
SRMC’s Wound Healing Center
SRMC’s Wound Healing Center offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy and other leading edge treatments for hard to heal wounds, which include diabetic, venous/arterial and pressure ulcers; osteomyelitis; radionecrosis; infections; compromised skin grafts and flaps; insect bites; thermal burns; and wounds that have not healed in 30 days.
The Wound Healing Center has earned the prestigious Healogics “Center of Distinction” award two years in a row, and seven of the past eight years, for demonstrating continued clinical excellence in wound healing and superior patient satisfaction rates. Healogics is the United States’ largest provider of wound care services.
Enhanced Safety Precautions
SRMC is taking enhanced precautions to ensure the health and safety of staff and patients during their visit. These measures include a reconfigured waiting area and scheduling that promotes social distancing, in addition to frequent sanitization of chairs, exam tables and patient care areas. Patients are asked to wear a mask to help maintain the health and safety of all patients and caregivers. Individuals who do not have a cloth mask will be given one upon entry that they will then return upon exit from the office.
For information about the specialized care provided at SRMC’s Wound Healing Center or to make an appointment, call 330-332-7415.