Category Archive

2023 September

Adult Preventive Care

doctor talking to patient

We go to the doctor when we’re feeling sick, but it’s just as important to go in for regular visits and tests to catch developing medical issues early.

Most health plans are required to cover a set of preventive services at no cost to you! Below are some common recommendations for adult preventive health. Review your plan documents or talk with your provider ahead of your visit to confirm the service will be covered under your medical plan.

  • Blood pressure reading: Annual blood pressure checks can help reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.
  • Cholesterol test: Get your cholesterol checked at least every 4 to 6 years.
  • Gynecologist: Persons with a uterus should see their gynecologist annually, according to the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative. Starting at age 21, you should get a pap smear to test for cervical cancer at least every three years (assuming your results are negative) until you turn 65.
  • Mammograms: Mammogram frequency can depend on family history, but guidance from the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative is that they should begin between age 40 and 50 and continue annually or every other year through at least age 74.
  • Prostate exam: Persons with a prostate should be screened for prostate cancer beginning at age 50, or sooner depending on family history.
  • Colonoscopy: This exam is recommended for adults beginning at age 45. Frequency depends on test results and family history.
  • Diabetes screening: Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes screening is recommended for adults 35 to 70 who are overweight or obese.
  • Bone density screening: This osteoporosis test is crucial for persons who have gone through menopause.

Bright Screens, Tired Eyes

man rubbing eyes

Advances in technology allow us to watch content on demand, talk in real-time with someone across the world, or download a book on a whim.

As a result, we spend a lot of time looking at screens. Per a recent study, Americans spend an average of 28 hours a week just on recreational screen time – not factoring in work-related screen time.

As a consequence, digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is on the rise. Looking at screens makes your eyes work harder than they would if you were reading printed text or looking at real-world objects. Computer vision syndrome can manifest in eye strain, headaches, blurry vision, and dry eyes. If you already have vision-related issues such as astigmatism or age-related eye changes, you may be at a higher risk of developing computer vision syndrome. (The amount of harmful blue light your eyes experience from screens may also hurt your retinas.)

Give your eyes a break by following the 20-20-20 rule:

If you have off-screen tasks, try to spread them out during the day to give yourself regular breaks. If you experience eye pain, dryness, or ongoing strain, talk to your eye doctor. They may recommend special computer glasses with certain lens designs, tints, or coatings to give your eyes the help they need.

Computer vision syndrome | AOA

Dealing With Phobias

woman with mouth covered

Fear is a deeply rooted human response that helps keep us safe from dangerous situations. It is the feeling and physical reaction most of us would experience upon encountering a dangerous animal or getting too close to a cliff edge.

Even though we sometimes experience fear in situations that are not life or death – think public speaking or having a difficult conversation with a family member – these experiences rarely keep us from living our lives to the fullest.

Some fears, however, are irrational, persistent, or both, and can hamper people from living healthy and productive lives. Phobias are uncontrollable, persistent, and irrational fears about certain situations, actions, or objects, often divided into two categories: avoidance and reaction. These may range from fear of heights and spiders to going outside or being in tight spaces. Some of these objects and situations are easy to avoid, but some are present in everyday life.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly used to help someone with a phobia learn methods to deal with their fear. CBT helps people learn how to live with and overcome their fears. Professionally guided exposure therapy is also a helpful treatment, especially for people with phobias of specific objects or situations. It gradually brings the person closer to the object of their phobia to help desensitize them to the phobia. Sometimes doctors will also recommend anxiety medications or sedatives for occasional use.

If you are experiencing fears of specific situations or objects that interfere with your daily life, speaking to your doctor or a mental health professional is a great place to start.


Phobias | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Therapy for Phobias: What Are the Options? (

The Sunshine Vitamin

woman on stairs in the sun

What vitamin does the human body produce when it is exposed to the sun? Vitamin D! This vitamin is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, supporting overall health, muscle function, and brain cell activity. It is essential for maintaining bone strength from head to toe.

The amount of vitamin D your skin makes depends on many factors, including the time of day, season, latitude, and your skin pigmentation. Studies have shown that individuals with darker skin pigmentation require longer or more intense ultraviolet radiation exposure to synthesize sufficient levels of vitamin D. If you have darker skin, you tend to make less vitamin D in the sun than people with lighter skin.

Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, vitamin D production might decrease or be completely absent during the winter months. Sunscreen, while important for skin cancer prevention, can also decrease vitamin D production. If your doctor suspects you’re not getting enough vitamin D, a simple blood test can check the levels of this vitamin in your blood. Chronic deficiencies may cause hypocalcemia, a calcium deficiency disease, and hyperparathyroidism, which can produce the following symptoms:

  • Bone fragility, especially in older adults
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bone pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle twitching or pain
  • And more

Many older adults don’t get regular exposure to sunlight and have trouble absorbing vitamin D. To boost your levels, you could take a multivitamin with vitamin D and eat foods high in vitamin D, such as egg yolks, cheese, mushrooms, fortified milk and cereals, and more.