Diabetes and 2021 Health Screenings & Vaccines
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare facilities, doctors’ offices, and preventive clinics delayed routine health screenings. In addition, concerns over COVID-19 found many adults opting to postpone their scheduled screenings. The CDC reports that “by June 30, 2020, because of concerns over COVID-19, an estimated 41% of U.S. adults had delayed or avoided medical care including urgent or emergency care (12%), and routine care (32%.) Now that some restrictions are slowly being lifted health screenings should be addressed, as they may be important to your overall health. Ignoring potentially life threatening non-COVID-19 conditions (such as uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, and cancer) for too long may actually lead us from one health crisis to another.
· Blood pressure screenings- all adults age 50 and older should be checked at least every two years (or more often if there is significant medical history).
· Cholesterol level- every 4-6 years (or more if you have heart disease or diabetes).
· Colorectal screenings- every 5-10 years from age 45-75 years old.
· Skin cancer- yearly head to toe examination to check out suspicious moles/spots.
· Breast cancer- annual mammogram for women age 50-74 years old. Testing is recommended every 2 years for women 75 years or older.
· Cervical cancer and HPV (human papillomavirus) - screening with a pap smear every 3 years.
· Prostate cancer-a prostate exam and PSA (blood) test, starting at age 50 years old.
· Bone density- a DEXA scan of the spine and hip at age 65 for women.
· Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)- Initial screening for men between ages 65-75 with a special emphasis on smokers.
· Pneumonia- a single vaccine for all adults age 65 and over.
· Influenza- an annual vaccine for everyone; a higher dose version for those 65 and over.
· Shingles- Two doses, two to six months apart- for adult 50 and over.
· TDAP- one time vaccine for adults who didn’t have the shot as an adolescent.
· TD booster- every 10 years.
The preceding recommendations on health screenings /vaccines are tied into your personal health profile and individual risk factors; thus, not all screenings are a high priority for everyone. Discuss these health screening with your healthcare providers and come to agreement with moving forward. We must all do our part to stay healthy during this pandemic, not only for ourselves, but for our families and friends as well. Routine health screenings assist in early identification and treatment of a disorder and ensure the best possible outcome in the long run.