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Getting back to regular checkups instead of virtual | Wear The Gown

The pandemic forced many to avoid going to the doctor. But, experts say in-office visits catch problems that may not be found virtually.

SAN ANTONIO — Because of COVID, many have put off in-person medical care for over a year. During the pandemic, many of us became used to virtual appointments. Doctors say those are reasonable for the short-term, but in-office visits catch problems that may not be found virtually.

"During COVID, we did a lot of phone visits. But, without a blood pressure check, without a blood pressure log, we were having difficulty adjusting medications because we didn't know what their blood pressure was," said Dr. Katherine Whiteley, who is a family practice physician for University Health. 

She says regular in-office visits as opposed to virtual visits are extremely important for older age groups. Dr. Whiteley told us, "Especially if they are driving, we try to get these patients back in every single year to make sure that their hearing and their vision is good to make sure that they're mentally well enough -- their reflexes are quick enough. They can do their get up and go test." 

Physicians say they've noticed an increase in patients with weight gain, hypertension, depression, anxiety and one that is very common in South Texas -- more patients with diabetes. Dr. Whiteley said, "I've had a lot of patients come in this year having crossed that prediabetic borderline who are now diabetics, and we've put them on medications." 

All patients need to be caught up on all of their vaccines too. If you are 65 and up, the coronavirus vaccine should be at the top of the list. Dr. Whiteley added, "We vaccinate for pneumonia. We give the shingles vaccine as well. 50 and up is how we recommend giving the shingles shot if the patient has had a history of chicken pox. And of course, the annual flu vaccine."  

Dr. Whiteley also says the best way to find out if you have a life-threatening illness is to see your doctor in person as well, so they can check all of your vital signs to make sure everything in your body is operating as it should be.

For more men's health information, you can call (210) 358-3045. You can also find more Wear The Gown stories here.

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