Preventive Care — A Better Choice

By Cheryl Simas

Many of us avoid going to the doctor and we wait until we feel sick before we seek help. But doctors aren’t only there to help us when we’re sick, they’re also great at keeping us healthy.

Instead of only thinking about your health when you’re feeling sick and need to recover, try practicing preventive care to avoid getting sick. Even if you’re feeling great, see your doctor for a “well visit” before something goes wrong. Practicing preventive care keeps you healthy and better able to fight off illness when you are exposed to disease or infection. Preventive care means taking action to avoid illness.

Benefits of Preventive Care

Preventive care helps keep you at your best. It helps you avoid or delay pain and disease, and it keeps conditions from getting worse. Practicing preventive care is good for your entire family and your community. If you keep yourself healthy you feel good, it gives you energy to care for children or elderly family members, it’s easier to go to work, and saves the time and cost of treating sickness.

Keeping your children healthy means they won’t spread colds or illness to others, and your own children are better protected if they are exposed to an illness. When you practice preventive care you protect yourself, your family and the larger community by limiting the spread of disease.

See Your Doctor Twice a Year

Practice preventive care by seeing your health practitioner twice a year. A “well visit” keeps your doctor up to date on your overall health and keeps you current with check-ups and immunizations that maintain good health. Regular appointments make it easier to catch any negative changes in your health early, when it’s easiest to recover and avoid complications.

Particular preventive measures are appropriate for different people, depending on age and other factors. Teenagers, children and the elderly may need specific preventive care. At  particular times mental health counseling, reproductive care, or behavioral health treatment may be part of preventive care. Here are some of the more common examples of preventive care measures:

  • Blood Pressure Check
  • Immunization
  • Cancer Screening
  • Pap Smear
  • Mammogram
  • Teeth Cleaning

Daily Habits for Preventive Care

In addition to the preventive care offered by your healthcare provider, we can all practice these daily habits that support good health.

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly (at least 30 minutes a day for adults)
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night (for adults)
  • Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol

Remember, preventive care helps you avoid or delay disease, keeps any disease or condition you have from getting worse, keeps you better able to care for yourself and your family, and helps strengthen your community.