Don’t put off these kinds of medical appointments, experts say

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The coronavirus pandemic has upended many of our social lives but it’s also put a halt to the ways we look after ourselves — including key doctor’s appointments.

Early in the pandemic, dentists and therapists shuttered their doors and while some medical professionals have used telehealth appointments, some check-ups need to be conducted in-person.

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“In general, if you have ongoing medical conditions that require an in-person visit, and certainly if you have an urgent issue, you should go to your doctor,” CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen told the news outlet.”Follow all precautions to reduce your risk. Coronavirus is one of the reasons people could get sick and suffer ill health outcomes, but you must also watch out for your health in all other ways, too.”

NPR has reported on some important medical visits you shouldn’t skip despite the pandemic continuing. Inspired by that list, here are a few appointments you may want to reconsider missing.

Follow-up on chronic conditions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults with chronic conditions are at a heightened risk of severe illness from the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. Such chronic illnesses include diabetes, kidney disease, lung diseases such as COPD, and heart conditions such as coronary artery disease.

So now, more than ever, it’s important to stay on top of routine checkups. Raleigh Medical Group reported that regular appointments will help you avoid potentially serious complications that could arise from chronic ailments.

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Keep up with cancer screenings

Amid the pandemic, the American Cancer Society noted there has been a “substantial decline in cancer screening.”

Screenings can aid doctors in locating and treating a variety of cancers before the onset of symptoms, according to the National Cancer Institute. Early detection means abnormal tissue or cancer may be easier to treat. Once symptoms appear, cancer could have started spreading and treatment may be more difficult.

Maintain annual exams

As with cancer screenings, keeping up with annual wellness checks can help you make sure your body is functioning well. This is especially the case for those with conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

“We don’t want to give the public the impression that wellness visits are not essential because they are, especially for diabetics and hypertensives and people with chronic lung diseases, Dr. Gary LeRoy, chair of the board of directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told Today.com.” They really are essential monitors of the status of their overall health.”

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Manage your mental health

The current circumstances can wreak havoc on your mental health.

Perhaps now more than ever, it’s important to make sure you manage how you’re feeling. The good news is that virtual therapy appointments have become common amid the pandemic. According to Atrium Health psychotherapist Kim R. Phillips, not having to come to an office allows for more flexibility.

“Offering virtual care is really a no-brainer,” she said on the Charlotte, North Carolina-based health care company’s website. “We’ll have clients who are out running errands, and it ends up taking longer than expected. Instead of missing their appointment, they’re able to call their therapist as they’re driving home or sit in their parked car and do the session through video on their phone.”

Still, there are challenges that can come with virtual appointments, including issues with technology. Additionally, some mental health management needs to be conducted in person. These include visits for drug screening tests and long-acting psychiatric drug injections, NPR reported.

There are also some mental health concerns that require more immediate attention.

Should you or someone you know begin to think of suicide, reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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