Open Accessibility Menu

Health To-Dos for the End of the Year

Health To-Dos for the End of the Year

As the year comes to a close, there is still time to finish checking things off your wellness to-do list. Most insurance plans cover health screenings and medical tests that are important for preventive care, so make sure you’re taking advantage of them! Here is a quick guide to keep you organized during this often chaotic time of year:

Annual check-ups: If you haven’t had one yet, now is the time to snag an appointment. Your healthcare provider will check things like your hemoglobin A1c, blood pressure and cholesterol, and review current medications you’re on. While you might not need to get a pap smear every year if your last test result came out negative, it's still a good idea to schedule a “well woman” visit with your gynecologist.

Eye exam: If you wear glasses or contacts, you should get one every 1-2 years, otherwise every 3-4 years is ok. Of course, this could change if you find yourself squinting or struggling to see in the dark. Eye care is especially important if you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, which is very prevalent in Louisianian. The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop complications like retinopathy, which is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the retina and can affects your vision.

Dermatologist: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., so a yearly full-body check is a must on your list. If your doctor doesn’t find anything suspicious, the exam shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. You should also perform monthly skin self-exams during the year, following the ABCDE method on what to look for: Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter and Evolving.

Dentist visit: More than 61% of people admit to purposefully putting off an appointment – don’t be in that number! Again, diabetes presents potential dental issues. High blood sugar can weaken white blood cells, which are your body’s main way to fight infections in the mouth. That means complications like gum disease can be more severe and take longer to heal if you have diabetes.

Preventative screenings: You’ll have to call to see if they can fit you in, but if you still haven’t had your mammogram or colonoscopy, give it a shot. These are examples of important preventative cancer screenings that could save your life.

Check your FSA: Flexible spending accounts (often called health savings accounts) may or may not allow for funds to roll over to the next year. Some plans include a grace period at the end of the year, giving you up to a couple of months to use any unspent money in your FSA.

Use your time off: It’s true that 55% of Americans don’t use all of their paid time off. It’s there for a reason – so take care of yourself and get recharged before the start of a new year.