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Keep the lines of communication open by discussing these topics at your next visit.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on more than just doctors and hospitals. It has had an effect on the doctor-patient relationship as well. Some people skipped doctor appointments because they didn’t feel comfortable being in a medical office. Some switched to virtual appointments instead of face-to-face visits. And some may have found it difficult to get appointments when virus surges stretched resources thin.

No matter what your reason for not seeing a doctor as often as you used to, now is the perfect time to get those appointments back on your schedule. Routine appointments are an important part of staying healthier. Being able to talk to a health care professional about any concerns you have and to ask questions empowers you to take control of your health. And making that connection again with your doctor helps create better communication between you, which may lead to improved health outcomes.

“The most important part of your health is prevention, annual visits and normal follow up appointments. I would recommend once a year visits with your physician at 40 years of age and older. However, you should see your physician more frequently if you have certain health issues included but not limited to Diabetes, High cholesterol, and Hypertension.

-Codey L. Fontenot, MD, Internal Medicine

The next time you see your doctor, here are a few topics worth discussing:

What screenings do I need? Talk about any tests you may need to assess your health. This may include routine blood work, cancer screenings (such as mammograms or colonoscopies), heart health or diabetes screenings (such as checking blood pressure or blood sugar), or vision and hearing tests. If you have any particular symptoms, your doctor may suggest other tests or screenings, too.

Are there any specialists I should see? Primary care doctors are the best place to start when you have any health issue and should be seen for preventative care. But depending on your age, health status or family history, it may be a good idea to also see a specialist. Ask your doctor if you should start going to any specialists, either to establish a baseline or because you have a specific health concern. Some people, for example, go to a cardiologist before they have a serious heart-related issue so they can keep tabs on their cardiovascular health. This helps prevent problems in the future or catch things early.

What do these symptoms mean? If you have symptoms that are bothersome, unusual or don’t seem to be going away, discuss them with your doctor. They may be nothing serious, but they could be a sign of an underlying issue that requires further evaluation. Some people who had COVID-19 may have a variety of unexplained symptoms that could be related to long-haul COVID, such as fatigue, brain fog or muscle aches. Don’t be afraid to bring up any symptoms you have, no matter how minor—or random—they may be.

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Date Last Reviewed: January 14, 2022

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

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