Q: I know things are slackening off, and where I live most people have been vaccinated, but I still feel a little scared and depressed and can’t quite get back to my normal life. No suggestion? – Rory F., Westfield, New Jersey
A: A lot of people express the same kind of apprehension, and it’s not surprising. You worked so hard to come to terms with the need to be cut and now it’s hard to undo it. Our advice: take it easy.
Wear your mask when you feel like it. This will decrease the effects of air pollution on aging and likely decrease infections caused by various airborne viruses. Try removing your mask when exercising outside or sitting with friends. Invite one or two vaccinated friends over to eat. If sitting at a table seems too close, eat on platters spaced apart from each other in a den or living room. You can stop wiping your deliveries (they figured that out awhile ago) but stick to handwashing. It also helps prevent colds and flu. Taking these first steps should show you that you can be comfortable with more interaction.
New ideas to help relieve depression may also be helpful. One study found that taking omega-3 supplements relieved symptoms of depression by reducing inflammation – participants taking omega-3 DHA saw a 71% reduction. While they were taking a higher dose (1,400 mg) than is often advised, this indicates that it makes sense to eat oily fish like salmon. After all, a 3-ounce serving provides 1.24 grams (or 1240 milligrams) of DHA.
Online therapy can also help. It is estimated that 50 million people around the world have used it during the pandemic, and mental health apps have seen their user numbers increase by 200%. A study of people particularly isolated during the pandemic found that 12 online sessions relieved anxiety and depression. We hope you allow yourself to enjoy the company of your loved ones, hang out and interact with the world.
Q: Are annual reviews a smart idea or a waste of time and money just looking for issues that aren’t there? – Frank G., Denver
A: Some groups say that it is not necessary to have an annual check-up for low-risk patients, and it is true that studies do not conclusively show that they make you live longer or prevent heart attacks, for example. But annual checkups have many benefits – and one more consideration we might add: who exactly is at low risk? Not many people. Overweight and obesity, prediabetes, diabetes, a list of other chronic diseases, and sleep problems all put you in a moderate to high risk category, as do poor diet, lack of exercise, and poor sleep. smoking.
Researchers at Northwestern University recently looked at 32 studies from 1963 to 2021 and concluded that many people who only see a doctor when they are sick are depriving themselves – there is no time to do so. catch up on how things are going or to detect an emerging chronic disease, determine if current prescriptions are correct, or catch up on missed routine tests.
During your exam, your doctor can make sure that you have had or have scheduled a mammogram or prostate check; do blood tests for cholesterol, lipids, inflammation, blood sugar, and vitamin levels; check your blood pressure; do a skin exam; test for infectious diseases like chlamydia or HIV if necessary; assess your weight / obesity and mental health issues; and catch up on vaccinations.
Another benefit the researchers found was the general feeling of well-being that patients report having after routine visits. This positive attitude proves to be important for health and well-being over time. So, for most of you, annual registration and monitoring is smart. For a checklist of what to screen or verify, see “Health Screenings for Women 18 to 39” and “Health Screenings for Men 18 to 39” at www.medline.gov.
Mehmet Oz, MD is the host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, MD is Director of Wellness Emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr Oz and Dr Roizen at youdocsdaily (at sign) sharecare.com.
(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, MD and Mehmet Oz, MD