Doctor with patient

If you’ve missed healthcare visits during the pandemic, you’re not alone. But it’s never too late to get caught up.

During this time of juggling multiple priorities, many people have delayed medical appointments and other routine healthcare.

Many people may have stopped seeing their primary care providers, and women have missed OB/GYN visits. But keeping up with these visits is important for your physical and mental health.

University of Maryland Medical System providers can help you get back on track. To get started, here’s what you may have missed and how to get caught up.

Preventive Care

An annual physical — also known as a well-person visit — is covered by most private insurance as required by the Affordable Care Act.

This visit is a great opportunity to address missed health maintenance. Your provider can:

  • Review your overall health, discuss any problems and help you manage any chronic conditions
  • Screen for high cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar—warning signs of heart disease and diabetes
  • Check that your vaccinations are up to date
  • Screen for depression and anxiety
  • Discuss alcohol and tobacco use
  • Discuss diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle behaviors
  • In some cases, perform cancer screenings such as a prostate exam for men or a pap smear (cervical cancer screening) for women

For Men: An annual visit to your primary care provider is an excellent time to talk to your doctor about prostate and testicular cancer screenings.

For Women: An annual visit to a women’s health care specialist, such as an OB/GYN or midwife, can be the time to be screened for cervical cancer and ask questions about breast health, birth control, menopause or unusual new symptoms.

Listen to a podcast on “When Is It Time to See a GYN Specialist?”

Do you need to schedule a mammogram or gynecological checkup? Make an appointment with a UMMS women’s health provider today.

Cancer Screenings

  • Breast cancer – If you are a woman who is 40 or older, it’s time to talk to your healthcare provider about scheduling a mammogram and about how often you should have one done.
  • Cervical cancer – Screening for cervical cancer for women should begin at age 21. How often you will need to be screened depends on your age and other factors.
  • Colon cancer – Depending on your age, health, symptoms and family history, you may have several options for colon cancer screening, ranging from colonoscopy to at-home test kits. If you are 45 or older and have not had a colorectal cancer screening, talk to your doctor about which is right for you.
  • Lung cancer – If you are 50 or older and smoke cigarettes or have quit within the past 15 years, you may want to start screening for lung cancer.
  • Prostate cancer – If you are man in your 50s or older and have a family history of prostate cancer, you should talk to your provider about whether you need a blood test to screen for this type of cancer.
  • Skin cancer – While often your primary care provider can check for this, he or she may refer you to a specialist if you or your family members have a history of skin cancer.

Dental Care

Many people missed dental care during the pandemic, but now is the time to get back into the routine of seeing the dentist twice a year for an exam and cleaning. Don’t delay! This can prevent much larger issues down the road.

Eye Exams

If you feel like your vision is changing, no matter your age, it’s time to get your eyes examined. If you are age 40 to 54, you should get an eye exam every 2 to 4 years and at age 55 to 64, every 1 to 3 years. If you are diabetic, make it an annual visit.

Mental Health

The stress of the pandemic has affected people in different ways. Some may be struggling with getting enough sleep, while others may be concerned about their alcohol use or eating habits.

Your primary care provider can help assess your mental health and recommend steps you can take to improve it. And if you need dedicated mental health care, your provider can recommend a therapist or psychiatrist for additional care.

Do you need a wellness visit or a check-in about your mental health? Make an appointment with a University of Maryland Medical System primary care provider today.

How to Get Caught Up on Your Health After COVID

This may seem overwhelming at first, so take it one step at a time. Because your primary care provider can help you prioritize, making an appointment for your annual visit is a good first step.

Make a list of what needs to be done, and ask questions about how and where you should go for the screenings and other preventive care that your primary care provider doesn’t provide.

But there’s no need to wait for that annual visit appointment to tackle other missed health care. Go ahead and can make appointments with other providers that your primary care provider doesn’t usually refer to, such as the dentist and eye doctor.