Take Charge of Your Health Before Issues Arise
February 22, 2022
How You Treat Your Health Today Sets the Stage for Tomorrow
Preventive care is a vital part of everyday health. While COVID-19 has taken center stage, other illnesses and conditions may arise that could call for timely treatments to help prevent further complications.
“It’s super important for people to get their yearly checkups,” says Audrey Gutierrez, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician at South Texas Health System Clinics. “You should get your yearly lab work, even if you’re considered fairly healthy,” she says. “That allows us to see little changes that may have happened from year to year, so that we can address them as needed.”
There are many reasons people delay care – lack of time, dismissal of “minor” issues, other priorities and recent fear of COVID-19 exposure. However, putting off health concerns can lead to worsening issues.
“We are taking precautions in the clinics to make sure that we’re seeing patients who need to be seen,” Gutierrez says. “In addition to labs, we want to make sure you’re getting an annual physical so that we can talk about things like preventive services, your vaccines, and recommended screenings.”
The longer a person delays seeking care for an illness, injury or ailment, the greater the risk for further complications and fewer treatment options.
When Care Can’t Wait
Certain symptoms require immediate attention, regardless of the circumstance. Chest pain, for example, should prompt immediate action. Often mistaken for heartburn or indigestion, chest pain is frequently a sign of an underlying heart issue. Delaying care could lead to a heart attack and could result in permanent damage or even death.
“If you’re having severe symptoms, the nurses go ahead and triage,” Gutierrez says. “If we feel that you need emergency care, we send you to an urgent care emergency room. We are able to do things like EKGs here in the office to go ahead and get a baseline if we think something more serious is going on.”
If you or a loved one experience a medical emergency, call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room.
Appointments at Your Convenience
Providers at South Texas Health System are available to meet with patients in person at their offices or virtually using a phone, tablet or computer.
“What I tell people about Telehealth options is that it honestly just depends on what is going on,” Gutierrez says. “There are some things that we can definitely do virtually and there are some things that are just better done in the office.”