What is Preventative Healthcare?
Preventive healthcare is what you do (before you get sick) to stay healthy.
For children and adults, the easiest way to incorporate preventative care is to schedule an annual wellness visit with your primary care physician (PCP). However, as we age, there are additional wellness measures that men and women should also prioritize:
- It is recommended that men and women begin having colorectal cancer screenings around the age of 45. A colonoscopy should be done every ten years or as recommended by your physician. *
- In addition to annual PCP appointments and colonoscopies, it is recommended that women also have regular women’s preventative health care appointments.
- By the age of 21 or younger, if sexually active, women should have an established OB/GYN provider for annual gynecological exams.
- Beginning around age 50, women should also begin having mammograms every two years (or as recommended by their doctor) to screen for breast cancer. *
*Recommended age and frequency are for adults in good overall health with no predetermined or increased risk for related cancers or diseases. Each person should follow the recommendations of their medical providers.
What are the Benefits of Preventative Healthcare?
Why should you go to the doctor if you’re healthy? Here are a few reasons to incorporate preventative care into your life:
A Wellness Visit Can Catch an Illness Early
The most important reason why you need to go to a wellness visit each year is that it can help you catch an illness at an early stage. It is essential to take control of your life and health and act preventatively instead of waiting until an illness or disease has progressed.
You may not know if you have an illness, but going to your annual checkup could help detect it. You can then work with your doctor to devise a treatment plan.
You’ll Discuss Your Health History
Discussing health history is a vital part of your wellness plan. During your annual visit, your doctor will ask about any changes in your health and your family medical history.
Some of this information might already be in your records, but speaking about any changes can help your doctor determine what should be done to prevent and monitor potential health conditions.
Your Health Can Change Over Time
Annual wellness visits are vital even if you’re young and healthy. Your long-term health can change as you age, which is why it is necessary to monitor your health yearly.
You might not notice changes from day to day, but your doctor will be able to track health changes each year. Discuss any new symptoms you’re having during your checkup so your doctor can determine if additional follow-up is necessary.
You’ll Develop a Good Relationship with Your Physician
Attending your wellness screenings each year with your primary physician and additional doctors is the best way to maintain your health. Further, it will help you develop a good relationship with your doctors.
If you are uncomfortable opening up about any changes in your health, be honest. It is essential to have an open dialogue with your doctors so they can help you create a plan of action when needed.
Your Doctor Will Review All of Your Medications
Your annual wellness visit is also important because it’s the time when your doctor will review all of the medications you take. During the visit, your doctor will check your list of medications, including those prescribed by other physicians, and determine if any counterintuitive interactions might occur. Your doctor will also decide whether you require dosage or medication changes during this visit.
If it helps, create a list of all your medications before your appointment to be sure you don’t forget any!
A Wellness Visit Can Help You Develop Good Health Habits
A wellness visit isn’t just for your doctor to prescribe treatments for illnesses or make medication changes. At these visits, your doctor will screen you to determine your health risks based on your health history and lifestyle.
During the visit, you should talk with your doctor to develop a plan, including treatment and lifestyle changes to improve your health. In addition, your doctor can provide you with resources and tips toward living a healthier life.
You’ll End Up Saving Money Long Term
Another benefit to going to your annual wellness visit is that it’ll help you save money long term. Since most annual checkups are covered by insurance, you won’t lose anything by going to them every year.
If you avoid your annual checkups, you and your doctor may miss an illness that could have been prevented. Additionally, this could lead to expensive treatments you may not have required if you had cared for your health early on.
Keep Your Vaccinations up to Date
During your wellness visit, you’ll also discuss vaccinations with your doctor. Certain vaccines will be recommended yearly, while others are recommended after a certain age. Your doctor will let you know what vaccines need updating during your visit.
Let your care manager know if you need help finding a provider or scheduling an appointment!
Understanding and practicing preventive care is vital to living a healthy life! If you need help finding a provider or scheduling an appointment, or if you would like assistance in understanding your health and healthcare services, please reach out to your care manager. We’re here to help!