American Heart Association Offers Tips on Care After Pandemic-Related Delays
Donald Lloyd-Jones, president of the American Heart Association (www.heart.org/callyourdoctor), says it’s a good time to check in with your doctors to take stock of your overall health along with any chronic conditions you may have. Recently, only 19% of U.S. adults reported delaying or not getting medical care in the prior four weeks because of the pandemic, according to the CDC’s latest Household Pulse Survey. That’s a marked decline from 45% of respondents reporting pandemic-related delays in the same period last year. For those still hesitating to seek care, Lloyd-Jones assures them it’s safe to come back.
As people return to in-person medical visits, Lloyd-Jones offers the following tips:
Leave the shame at home. Many people experienced a COVID backslide with their health status. Lloyd-Jones says that stress took a toll on all of us, and our lives and routines were turned upside down – there’s nothing to be ashamed of here.
Track your body metrics. Leading up to your appointment, start documenting your daily weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels (for those with diabetes), etc. Recent measurements will help your doctor determine if there have been significant changes.
Bring a list of questions. Writing down in advance everything you may have a question about will help make the most of your time together with your health care professional.
Make an action plan with your doctor. Together, patients and their health care providers can discuss how to get to a healthier place and make a plan for how to get there.
Set realistic goals. Incorporating new healthy habits—or reinstating pre-pandemic ones—isn’t going to happen overnight. Start with small, consistent habits that can lead into big changes.
Pay close attention to any symptom changes. If you’ve experienced any new symptoms—physically or mentally—don’t wait to see your doctor.
For more tips on getting back to the doctor and reclaiming your health, visit www.heart.org/callyourdoctor.