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OPINION: Don’t ‘leaf’ your health to luck

by Randy Moll | March 14, 2023 at 7:00 a.m.

With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, you may be hoping for the faith, hope, love and luck often associated with the holiday. While we wish all of those for you, your health is one thing you can't "leaf" to chance.

While you may be one of those people who only go to the doctor when you're sick, there are five reasons for seeing your primary care provider that could make you pretty lucky.

Well visits can:

1. Save you money long-term. While we can't promise you a pot of gold, we can help you determine if your insurance plan covers annual wellness visits. A recent poll found between 40 and 44 percent of Americans skip medical treatments or avoid seeing a doctor when sick or injured due to cost. A quarter of the nation doesn't even have a primary care provider, though many insurance companies fully cover wellness visits. In addition, studies show that it is far more costly for a preventable disease to go unchecked.

2. Help catch disease early, when it's most treatable. According to the CDC, 70% of American deaths result from chronic disease and nearly half the nation battles heart disease, cancer, diabetes or other preventable ailments. Early detection is vital, as the earlier a disease is identified, the sooner you can begin treatment. For example, one 2021 study found up to 90% of patients could be cured of ovarian cancer if detected in Stage 1.

3. Stave off disease. Wellness visits aren't just about early detection of cancer or heart disease but a way to prevent illness. These visits are an excellent time to get up to date on vaccinations. The CDC reports that flu vaccinations in 2019 and 2020 prevented 7.5 million influenza cases, 3.7 million flu-related medical visits, 105,000 hospitalizations and 6,300 deaths. A quick inoculation can reduce the chances of a future flu-related doctor's visit by as much as 60%. This is also a good time to get boosters for covid, shingles and pneumococcal disease.

4. Save you some time. We're all busy, but making time for your well-being is essential. Well visits are about 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, waiting for an emergency means a much longer wait. U.S. News & World Report found that the nation's shortest median ER wait time was 46 minutes but the longest was 286 minutes. It doesn't take much to spare 30 minutes once a year (or every three years if you're under 50).

5. Provide peace of mind. Don't settle for Googling symptoms -- we all know the results are usually unnecessary doom and gloom instead of rainbows and leprechauns. A visit to your physician can reassure you everything is okay. You can also discuss medications, learn the cause of your insomnia or determine why you're not losing those last few pounds.

So, there's no need to get down on your hands and knees to scour the grass for a four-leaf clover. Instead, you can be proactive about your good health by scheduling regular wellness visits.

A well visit isn't just about establishing a patient's potential health risks. These appointments forge a doctor-patient relationship and allow you to create a health plan together. Schedule your well visit today by visiting NW-Physicians.com. Same-day appointments are often available.

About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a licensed 73-bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. It is accredited by the State of Arkansas Department of Health Services and The Joint Commission. Some services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, medical, surgical and intensive care units, obstetrics, outpatient diagnostic services and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. With more than 50 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassionate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas. Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs. For more information, visit NorthwestHealth.com.

Print Headline: Don’t ‘leaf’ your health to luck


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