SPECIAL OFFER: - Limited Time Only!
(The ad below will not display on your printed page)


Prescription for Danger: 7 Harmful Shortcuts

You're busy. We get it. But cutting corners in an effort to do more in less time may do more harm than good. Here, seven common shortcuts that shortchange your health.
Stethoscope Your gyno is your only doc.

For the past six years Janelle Brannock, 35, has relied on her ob-gyn for nearly all of her health needs. "I'm pretty healthy. And on the rare occasions I got sick, I could never see my former primary care physician right away," the Peoria, Arizona, resident says. But even fit women should get checked for stealth health issues like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and skin cancer -- conditions that gynos don't typically screen for. "If your doctor isn't aware that she is your sole health care provider, you could also miss out on needed vaccinations, like tetanus," says John Spangler, MD, a professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Even if she does know, an American Journal of Preventive Medicine study found that less than a third of ob-gyn practices stock and administer vaccines other than those for flu and human papillomavirus (HPV). "Patients need to discuss their individual needs, including vaccines, with a primary care physician," Dr. Spangler adds. Check with your insurance too; many companies cover only one or two ob-gyn visits a year. Ask friends or family for a PCP referral, or download the Pocket Doctor app to find docs in your area ($0.99, iTunes store).