August 2020 Monthly Health Article – Summer Safety

Taking Charge of Your Health: How Your Primary Care Provider Can Help You Stay Ahead of the Curve
by Marshal Unrein, PA

Since the onset of COVID-19, many of us have probably focused more intently on our health than ever before – paying close attention to how we are feeling, staying alert to any signs that we might not be well and doing what we can to stay healthy. While a pandemic is certainly a bad thing, being more in tune with and focused on our health is definitely a good thing.

Typically, most of us will visit a doctor when we are sick, experiencing a new health problem or are in pain. However, to truly optimize our health, it is important that we visit our primary care provider for regular check-ups – even when we are well. 

Annual physical exams can play a very important role in your health. While a yearly examination may seem unnecessary, especially if you feel great, this regular visit with your primary care provider can offer valuable help in preventing health surprises and setbacks down the road. Early diagnosis of many conditions – from cancer to heart disease and other ailments – offers the best chance to achieve the best outcome possible and help keep you on the road to good health.

Additionally, regular primary care can help you establish a healthy and trusting relationship with your provider, making it easier and more comfortable for you to discuss any health concerns you have with a healthcare professional who can help.

So, what is a primary care provider?
Primary care providers include family physicians, general practitioners, general pediatricians and geriatricians, and nurse practitioners. They commonly diagnose new illnesses, help manage chronic conditions, advocate for preventive care and help protect the overall wellness of their patients.

They are usually your first contact when seeking care and your principal point of continuing care. In fact, continuity is a key characteristic of primary care. Having a go-to primary care provider offers you a trusted source for routine check-ups, preventive care and conversations about your health concerns. Your provider knows and understands your health history and potential risk factors, which gives them a more complete picture of your health and how to best manage it.

What happens during an annual exam with a primary care provider?
Your primary care provider uses your regular check-ups to see how your body is performing and monitors your vital signs, including weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and other important health markers. Depending on your personal health history, your primary care provider might choose to focus on certain areas during your exam, like additional blood pressure and cholesterol screenings if you have a family history of heart disease.

Beyond monitoring and improving your health, an annual check-up allows you and your provider to develop a strong provider-patient relationship, which can go a long way in helping identify even the smallest changes in your health or lifestyle. If you suffer from any chronic conditions, your primary care provider can help you manage them and stay tuned in to any changes in your condition that may need attention.

Yearly exams are also the best way for a primary care provider to ensure that you are getting the preventive health screenings and important vaccinations you need at the right times.  

Are annual exams expensive? 

Getting an annual exam doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, most insurance plans fully cover one check-up each year. You should contact your insurance provider for details regarding your plan’s coverage.

If you haven’t scheduled your annual check-up, now is a great time to get it on the calendar. Provider offices are taking extra precautions to protect the health and safety of their patients, so it’s never been safer to visit your primary care provider. Your primary care provider may even have a few more openings for annual exam visits than usual.

If you don’t have a primary care provider, Colorado Plains Medical Center can help. Call 970-867-3391 or visit and get connected with primary care today to help you stay healthy for all your tomorrows.

The Heat is On: How to Stay Cool and Spurn the Burn

July 20, 2021

When the sun comes out to play, many of us make plans to do the same. The summer months bring the promise of backyard barbecues, pick-up games in the park and wasting away lazy afternoons in the water. This year’s summer season feels extra special as COVID-19 vaccines have paved a way for us to once again gather together safely.

COVID-19 Vaccines: It’s Time to Roll Up Your Sleeve

March 9, 2021

Nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have become accustomed to wearing masks, social distancing, virtual schooling and remote working. We have all made sacrifices to protect ourselves and one another, but there is another very important step you can take to help end this pandemic and get back to normal. As soon as you have the opportunity, please consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Prevention on the Brain: How to Protect Yourself from Concussions and Other Injuries

March 2, 2021

When you think about your health, some of the first things that probably come to mind are healthy eating, exercise, visits with a provider and other steps to help prevent and manage illness and disease. But there is another important factor to consider when thinking about maintaining good health – preventing injuries.

Heart Health Starts at Home

February 16, 2021

After a long day, it’s easy to put your feet up and grab the remote. This may help you unwind, but it won’t do your heart any favors.

Time Out: Does Your Heart Need a Break?

February 12, 2021

There are many benefits to taking time for yourself. A little alone time can help you recharge, improve your focus and manage stress – which is key to maintaining a healthy heart.

An Egg White a Day…

February 8, 2021

Egg whites are low in calories, high in protein and have no cholesterol. This egg white omelet is a great way to give them a try.

Notice of Medical Record Disposal

January 6, 2021

Effective March 1, 2021, Colorado Plains Medical Center will be disposing medical records of those prior to December 31, 2009, that have satisfied the required period of retention.

Update on COVID-19 in Our Community

November 13, 2020

Colorado Plains Medical Center’s top priority continues to be protecting the health and safety of our patients, providers, employees and the communities we serve. Like our fellow healthcare providers, we continue to be challenged by the concerning trend of COVID-19 in our local community and across the nation.

Early Detection is Key to Controlling Diabetes

November 6, 2020

November is the start of the holiday season - a time to celebrate fun, family and food. It also is a time to consider a medical condition for which as many as 79 million American adults is at risk of contracting: diabetes.

Protecting Yourself and Our Community from the Flu

October 8, 2018

Fall is here! That means cooler weather, autumn colors and, unfortunately, the flu. This article reminds the reader the importance of the flu vaccination and offers other important tips to protect an individual from the flu and other infections.

Suicide: What You Should Know

September 25, 2018

The issue of suicide is a very difficult and concerning topic to address. Colorado Plains Medical Center provides recognizable signs and risk factors in this article as well as potential resources for mental health.

On the Move: How to improve health through exercise safely

July 19, 2018

Physical activity is one of the best tools to improve or maintain good physical and mental health. To get the most positive health benefits from regular exercise, it's important to understand one's capabilities, as well as how to safely use any type of exercise equipment to help prevent injuries. Tips to avoid sports injuries are presented by David Keller, orthopedic physician assistant and physical therapist at Colorado Plains Medical Center.

Top of Mind: Ending the stigma around mental health

July 19, 2018

An important facet of everyone's health is mental health. It has a profound impact on our overall well-being. Early warning signs of a mental health condition are noted as well as inpatient and outpatient resources available in this area at Colorado Plains Medical Center.

Protecting Yourself from Colorectal Cancer

April 13, 2018

Colonoscopy screenings are the number one way to reduce risk of colorectal cancer in men and women. Physicians at Colorado Plains Medical Center discuss warning signs and prevention.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 5, 2017

A healthy lifestyle and early detection are encouraged in the fight against breast cancer. Mammograms, forms of screening, risk factors, and symptoms of breast cancer are covered in this article

The Heat is On: How to Stay Safe During the Hot Summer Months

June 2, 2017

Although the hot sunny weather offers the opportunity for fun, it can also be dangerous. Discover how heat exhaustion and heat stroke can affect individuals and uncover tips to aid someone suffering from an heat-related illness.

Colorado Plains Medical Center Earns Coveted 2016 Hospital Award

January 9, 2017

Colorado Plains Medical Center is among the 6% of hospitals that achieved Top Hospital status through the national Leapfrog organization's annual survey process for safety and quality measures and outcomes. Additionally, it was one of only 21 rural hospitals selected by Leapfrog to receive an additional designation as a Top Rural Hospital.