Prevention is the Best Medicine
Preventive medical services can play a vital role in your overall health and keeping you healthy long-term. The CDC website states that “each year, nearly 900,000 Americans die prematurely from the five leading causes of death- yet 20 percent to 40 percent of the deaths from each cause could be prevented.” The five leading causes of death listed on the CDC website are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries.
By going to a preventive medical center then your doctor may be able to detect the early warning signs of disease and allow you to seek proper medical treatment before it is too late. In many cases of premature death, caused by one of the leading causes of death or other types of diseases, it could have been prevented with lifestyle changes, such as cutting out smoking and/or heavy alcohol use, eating a balanced diet, and exercising on a regular basis.
What Exactly is Preventive Treatment?
Preventive care includes any exams or tests that are performed before there is an issue. So, for example, if you go to the doctor and get a prostate exam that’s considered to be preventive care. However, it is no longer considered preventive care if your doctor suspects they have found something and you need to go in for a biopsy or further testing. It is also not preventive care for any treatments needed in the case something is found.
Preventive care is generally covered by your insurance, and in cases where you have follow up appointments then you may have out-of-pocket costs. Costs also depend on how your doctor decides to bill you, so be sure to check with them so you are not blindsided by any medical bills.
Benefits of Preventive Care Services
Many people are afraid of going to the doctor’s because offices are usually full of people who are sick and people do not want to be told the bad news that they have an illness. While this is a common fear, it is one that could potentially put your health at risk. There are many benefits of going to see your doctor for an annual physical or to get anything checked out that you may have concerns about. These benefits are:
Costs: Going to the doctor for preventive care can actually lower healthcare costs in the long term. When a disease is caught earlier on it is usually easier to treat and there is a higher chance of a full recovery. Having an easier to treat disease means fewer follow-up visits and less out-of-pocket costs, as discussed above.
Lifespan: Prioritizing your health is key to a longer life. As you age, there are certain tests and screenings that everyone should have to prevent diseases that start to become more prevalent past that particular age. If you have a family history of a particular disease then it is even more important to get your screenings done to catch anything early on and you may need to have the screening done at a younger age because you are at an elevated risk (something to discuss with your doctor).
Maintaining Activity: Being active is an important part of living a happy and healthy lifestyle. Keeping on top of your health, through preventive medicine, allows you to stay active and doing the things that you enjoy the most. Also, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to certain kinds of illnesses, and partaking in exercise and other physical activities will help maintain your health. It comes full circle in this case.
Awareness: If you have an underlying illness or potential health risks then you may learn about it through preventive services and this gives you the chance to get on top of the situation, so it does not become a serious problem later on. It’s always a good thing to know your body and be aware of what’s going on with it. You can also get doctor recommendations on how to stay healthy and certain things you can do to feel your best.
These are merely some of the reasons why you should take advantage of preventive care services and see a doctor annually. While you may not be dealing with an issue currently or feeling seriously ill, it could happen at some point and you may be able to mitigate this by getting regular testing.
Types of Preventive Care
As has been established, preventive care is any kind of service that helps prevent disease or detect it early on. However, many may not be aware of what types of services technically fall under the umbrella of preventive care. After all, many services do not count under the category and ultimately it’s up to your individual insurance provider as to whether something is covered or not. Generally, the following are considered to be preventive care:
- Vaccinations: As a child, you will most likely have received numerous vaccines and if you are going to have a child you might consider having them vaccinated. Typically children will have vaccines for the mumps, rubella, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough), polio, measles, chickenpox, and hepatitis A and B. Schools will require certain vaccinations, so be sure to check which ones are necessary. As a person gets older they can be vaccinated for meningitis, flu, and HPV (which protects again the human papillomavirus that can lead to cervical and anal cancer). Flu shots are given annually and boosters for previous vaccines may also be available.
- Cancer Screenings: Cancer screenings are vital to early detection for common types of cancer. Different screenings will usually start at certain ages and will continue to be done every so many years (according to your doctor) for life. Pap smears will typically start at age 21, in conjunction with a pelvic exam, and screen for cervical cancer. Mammograms (screenings for breast cancer) start around the age of 45, although they may start earlier if there is a family history of breast cancer or the patient has a known higher risk for breast cancer. Colonoscopy’s, which screen for colon cancer, start at age 50. Prostate exams (starting around 50) will check for any signs of prostate cancer.
- Annual Physical: You should see your doctor once a year for an annual physical to check your overall health. Your doctor will check your heart rate, blood pressure respiration rate, and temperature and take a urine and blood sample. They will also listen to your heart to check for irregular heartbeats or heart murmurs and listen to your lungs for any crackling or wheezing. They should also listen to any concerns you may have and offer any health recommendations for particular concerns or risk factors.
- Counseling: Counseling services may be available to those who want to quit smoking, lose weight, or reduce alcohol intake. Smoking is known to have a high risk of leading to lung cancer, so counseling services can help someone finally quit if they are looking to do so and insurance may cover things like smoking cessation patches or gums.
- Other Services: Preventive services may also cover HIV screenings and counseling, contraception for those who may become pregnant, Autism screenings for children, and vision screenings for children.
Don’t Forget to Check Us Out
If you are interested in integrative medicine, which combines conventional medicine and holistic therapies, and healthcare that focuses on your individual needs call Shakthi Health and Wellness Center today! Dr. Jyothi Rao is a highly skilled and experienced physician who can effectively evaluate your symptoms and optimize your body’s vitality. Call and speak to our concierge staff to schedule your appointment today.