Article By Dr. Ravi Murthy, MD, CMD, FACP, MBA

While this week is focused on Men’s Health Week, it is an important time for everyone to acknowledge the physical and emotional impact the pandemic has had on us and to focus on getting your health and wellness back on track. 

Maybe you gained some weight, or you lost weight since the pandemic started last year. Maybe your eating habits changed, or you exercised less because you couldn’t get to the gym.

Maybe you put off those important preventive health checkups and screenings during the pandemic. Here are several reasons you should get them on your calendar ASAP: 

Weight Loss. While this may seem like a welcomed outcome from the pandemic, weight loss could be a sign that you lost muscle mass, rather than fat. This can happen if you haven’t been exercising as much or haven’t been to the gym in a while. Before you jump back into a fitness regime, talk with your primary care physician first to avoid injury and to make sure you’re physically fit.

Weight Gain. Maybe you gained weight during the pandemic because your eating habits changed, or you exercised considerably less. If you experienced excessive weight gain, you have a higher risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and other metabolic abnormalities, which can mean you are more likely to develop heart disease and have a greater chance of a heart attack or a stroke.

A biometric screening – which measures your blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose – can alert you to these types of health risks.

Chronic Condition Management: If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol, they need to be managed appropriately to prevent a heart attack or stroke.

Cancer Screenings. If you are due—or overdue—for a mammogram, colonoscopy, prostate, skin cancer screening or other exam, it’s important to get caught up on these screening tests. They look for signs of cancer, and cancer is most treatable when it’s caught early.

Depression. While depression is equally prevalent in both men and women, men are less likely to seek help for depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges than women. The symptoms of depression for men are more physical, and can manifest as headaches, digestive problems, tiredness, sleeping too much or too little, and unintentional weight loss. Seeking help and recognizing atypical symptoms is an essential aspect of prevention.