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Taking a proactive approach to your health care

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The best way to improve your health is by taking a proactive approach – at home, this means you are getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, managing stress and maintaining a healthy diet.

But there are other ways to take action to stay well. Periodic medical checkups help you manage chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, get proper screening for cancer and other diseases and find mental and physical health supports and resources.

Recently, a Calgary clinic’s proactive, collaborative efforts resulted in a potentially life-saving situation. The clinic’s story follows, although names have been removed for confidentiality.

Finding gaps to fill

A family doctor in Calgary – and a member of Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network – noticed many patients hadn’t visited for regular examinations since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The physician was concerned, particularly for their more vulnerable patients and those with chronic conditions — patients who should have come in for routine screenings, medication reviews and refills.

The clinic team then coordinated an outreach process to connect and schedule physical exams with each patient.

In one case, the team noticed a patient hadn’t come in to see their family physician in three years and contacted them to schedule an appointment. At the exam, the physician noticed alarming indicators and recommended an urgent mammogram – an X-ray that looks for breast cancer – to the patient.

This screening appointment may have interrupted a life-altering event.

How you can get involved

This good news story describes something anyone can do to take a proactive and preventative approach to their health care.

Here are a few ways to get more involved:

  1. Book regular check-ins with your doctor, whether they are for screenings or physical exams, medication reviews or to discuss your physical and mental health.
  2. Come to your doctor’s appointments prepared with a list of the priorities and concerns you want to discuss, any related questions and a general sense of how you are feeling.
  3. Be aware of your family’s health history – specifically, a record of the diseases and health conditions in your family – and don’t forget to share it with your doctor.
  4. Stay up to date on vaccinations. Find information about immunization in Alberta and request your own records through Alberta Health Services.
  5. Continue practicing good health habits. Get enough sleep, exercise regularly, eat healthy, remember to hydrate and find ways to manage and reduce stress.

We can help

Calgary Foothills PCN’s health team can also help you take a proactive approach – the team is offered as an extension of the care you receive from your family doctor. You can book an appointment with a mental health specialist, registered dietitian, community social worker, pharmacist or nurse. Learn more about the PCN’s health team and find out how to book an appointment.

The PCN also offers free group workshops on topics such as anxiety, happiness, healthy eating, irritable-bowl syndrome, diabetes and more. It’s fast and easy to sign up for the free workshops, which are available in person and online – you don’t need a referral from your doctor.