Health is something we take for granted when we have it. There’s something in the human mind that locks us into the present – when it’s hot we can’t imagine bundling up in winter hats and coats, and when it’s cold we can’t imagine wearing a swimsuit and going to the beach.
While hot and cold won’t make much difference in the grander scheme, imagining we’ll always be healthy without some effort can lead us into trouble in the future. Here are four good reasons we should all think about preventative care:
#1: Preventative Care Keeps You Healthy
It is the best way of making sure today’s good health continues well into the future. Factors that go into preventive care include lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise, as well as screening services offered by many clinics and doctor’s surgeries. Some screening may be age or gender specific, while others include counseling on such things as hygiene or health and safety at work.
Preventative care is not just for currently healthy people either, as it is also about managing chronic illnesses to lessen pain, reduce symptoms and avoid complications.
#2: Preventative Care Covers All Bases
There are many ways we can take control of our health, some we do by ourselves while others need specialist help:
Preventive Screening: Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer are easier to treat when they’re detected at an early stage. When you take part in a screening program, any potential problems are identified before they become disabling.
Managing Stress: We know that stress is bad for us, but often we don’t do anything to control or minimize it. While it’s not possible to eliminate every stressful circumstance, it’s definitely possible to learn how to minimize its damaging effect on the body. Stress management techniques can help prevent conditions such as heart disease or ulcers.
Eating Properly: Learning about nutrition, what the body needs and which foods provide it, means we can make sure we always get enough vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.
Getting Enough Exercise: This is tough for many people since so much in society is geared towards a sedentary lifestyle. It’s vital though, as consistent exercise throughout life keeps muscles and the nervous system functioning, helping to prevent degenerative conditions like multiple sclerosis as well as other common ailments such as heart disease and cancer.
Lifestyle Choices: Giving up smoking and avoiding other people’s smoke can help prevent lung cancer and COPD illnesses like emphysema.
In an ideal world, we’d all do those things as a matter of course. In the real world, however, it’s easier said than done. It takes dedication, determination and time management to start, then continue, with a personal preventive care program.
#3: There are Programs for Men and Women
It’s never too late, or too early, to begin preventive health care. It actually starts in babyhood when parents get their children immunized against potentially dangerous childhood diseases like measles, mumps and rubella. At all stages through life, there are plans that include screenings for both men and women.
Men tend not to visit their doctor as often as women, and this possibly goes some way to explaining why they live an average of seven years less. Screening programs for men can detect heart disease (a leading cause of premature death in men), high blood cholesterol, hepatitis C, high blood pressure, various cancers and a whole host of other conditions.
Women can join routine screening programs for breast cancer, osteoporosis, cervical cancer, STIs, iron deficiencies, cholesterol, urinary tract infections and blood pressure, plus many more diseases and illnesses.
For both men and women, which screening tests would benefit you most depends on your age and lifestyle. Speaking to your doctor or primary care provider will help you make informed decisions about which area of your health you should give priority to. As well as those mentioned, there are many more tests for adults along with specific tests for children so you can be sure your kids are developing properly.
#4: No Extra Costs
Most health insurances now cover preventive care programs so you don’t have to worry about copay or deductibles if you see an in-network doctor. Any charges you do receive would normally be for services that don’t fall into the preventive category such as treatments or diagnosing and monitoring ongoing illnesses. If you have doubts, speak to your doctor or health insurance provider to find out which are fully covered.
Preventive care saves lives by monitoring your ongoing health through tests and screening, and by the lifestyle choices you make. It’s one of the very best things you can do for yourself and your family.