The Importance of Well Visits
Part Two of a Two-Part Series
Have you seen your doctor lately? Some people only go when they’re sick. But nowadays things are different. Health providers not only treat sickness and chronic health issues, they are also all about prevention.
Scheduling an annual wellness visit is your best way to prevent health problems. If you have a chronic condition, the checkup can help you manage your condition and feel the best you can be.
An Important Relationship
Whether you’re healthy or not, your yearly well visits play an important role in your future health. For one, it’s the best way for you and your doctor to get to know each other.
“This is really someone you want to build a rapport with,” said Dr. Sherri Onyiego, Equality Health’s Texas Market Medical Director. “It’s someone who is asking you very private and personal questions, which can be intimidating for some people. But I can’t underscore enough the importance of having a healthy dialogue. That open dialogue with the healthcare provider and continuing to foster that relationship is so key to health outcomes.”
Opting for an annual physical adds even more information about your health. The tests and screenings that occur during the visit not only reveal your present health, but they become what your provider calls a baseline. Your doctor can then compare the results with future tests and screenings.
The Ounce of Prevention
Even though you may feel fine, it’s still a good practice to stay on top of getting those well visits. Sometimes the checkup or a screening may pick up something you might not be aware of.
“Getting your blood pressure checked,” Onyiego gave an example. “People have often told me they didn’t know their blood pressure was high. They didn’t feel any symptoms, especially with women. Women often present with certain conditions differently than men.”
If you have a chronic or underlying condition, seeing your doctor once or twice a year can help keep the condition under control. You can find out if your medication still works. Maybe you don’t need as much. Or maybe you’re a candidate for a different therapy or a program you can participate in.
“What we always say is prevention is best,” Onyiego said. “Manage chronic conditions by staying engaged and staying in care. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
If you have children, you definitely want to schedule a yearly well-child visit for each one. Your adult body may have some year-to-year consistency, but your child’s body is constantly growing and changing. The visits give insight into your child’s health and development.
“For example,” explained Onyiego, “if I’m seeing a child in that 0-1-year phase and they’re underweight, I’m able to track that because they’ve been coming in for those well-child checks and I can find out what’s going on. If this is a breastfed baby, is it having problems latching on and getting enough milk?
“If it’s an older child that is overweight and falling off the growth chart,” Onyiego continued, “maybe we can track unhealthy eating habits that are happening at home. Are they doing a lot of snacking? Are they taking in sugary foods? Is there a sedentary lifestyle? Tracking a child’s growth and development is key for parents to understand during these visits.”
Well-child visits keep your kids current on immunizations and other preventive measures. It’s also a time to get a sports physical if your child needs one.
Time To Talk
A well-child visit is an opportunity to raise concerns and talk about issues you might notice. You see your child every day, but your doctor doesn’t, so go ahead and have the courage to talk openly. This gives your doctor a chance to make the right decisions for your child.
“A good example is behavioral issues,” Onyiego said. “If a child is not socializing or meeting certain milestones, they’re not interacting with other kids or not paying attention to certain cues, that could be a developmental milestone delay. That’s important for parents to share during those visits.
“Some parents may feel asking questions about what we do at home may be intrusive,” Onyiego added, “but it’s really about gathering information to help the provider put things into perspective from a management standpoint. You’re working together, collaboratively as a team, to have the best health outcome.”
The Right Choice
If you have questions about wellness visits for you and your family or want to make an appointment for one, contact your provider or Equality Health.
For more facts and insights to help you make the best choices for your wellness journey, visit Cafecito Time con Equality Health.
Published in Prensa Arizona, 4/21/2022