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Maria Braman, M.D.

As we kick off 2021, we are still in a pandemic, but thankfully there is hope for a better year as many of us are making New Year’s resolutions to improve our health by taking the COVID-19 vaccine and boosting our immune systems through nutritious foods and exercise programs. However, taking charge of your health and scheduling an appointment with your healthcare provider for a wellness screening is the best way to achieve a healthier you in 2021.

“As we begin a new year, we all want a fresh start, especially now, and getting focused on our health is a great way to improve our well-being,” said Maria Braman, M.D., ARH chief medical officer. “Keep in mind that only a healthcare provider can determine the status of your health and what it will take to improve it.”

According to Dr. Braman, it is important to know if you have high blood pressure, cholesterol or glucose levels that need to be addressed before establishing a new exercise program or diet plan. These levels can be determined through a simple blood test. Your healthcare provider also will ask you a series of questions about your overall health. For example, you will be asked about your quality of sleep, if you have any joint or muscle pain, or if you need specific vaccinations such as the COVID-19 and Flu vaccines. Take the opportunity during the appointment to discuss any health concerns and challenges such as how to quit smoking, curb your sugar intake, lose weight or how to strengthen your bones. One of the best things you can do to improve your health is to establish a relationship and good communication with your healthcare provider.

“Often people think they only need to talk to their healthcare provider when they are sick, or when there’s something wrong,” added Dr. Braman. “Wellness is about preventing health problems before they occur through age-related health screenings, vaccines and establishing a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise.”

Annual wellness exams are crucial to improving your health. Most insurances pay for an annual wellness exam. In fact, Medicare pays for one wellness exam per year. Schedule a wellness exam with your healthcare provider and start working towards a healthier you today! If you are looking for a healthcare provider, you can find one near you by visiting www.arh.org and clicking on “find care” or by calling your local ARH hospital.