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Preventative Care Explained

People plan ahead for things all the time, whether it’s buying ingredients for the next week’s meals in advance or saving money to buy a new TV. But, one thing people often forget to plan ahead for is their health. Preventative care, or avoiding health issues in advance, will keep you much healthier down the line if you keep up with it properly. This is especially true for older adults.

What is Preventative Care?

Preventative care is exactly what it sounds like. It involves many different aspects of care, but its main goal is to catch problems early in order to make sure that you can live a long, healthy, and happy life. Doctors use guidelines set by the US Preventative Task Force to determine which treatments and lifestyle adjustments you’ll need, given your personal history and family history. Keeping up with regular checkups is important, since catching diseases or health conditions early makes them easier to treat. Identifying potential conditions too late can be dangerous.

What are the types of preventative care?

There are many different types of preventative care. Since health is such a broad term, staying healthy also requires many different techniques. The most important thing is to visit the doctor regularly to ensure that they can make as many helpful recommendations as possible. Many of these recommendations are used together to ensure holistic care.

  1. Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle is a very important part of overall health, and lifestyle recommendations are a large part of preventative care. This can range from diet changes, like recommendations to eat healthier, to larger lifestyle changes, like recommendations to stop smoking and exercise more. While it might seem like these are obvious ways to stay healthy, the advice of a doctor can be more specific and help you create a more detailed plan or goals for a healthier lifestyle.
  2. Vaccines and supplements: The easiest way to avoid a disease is to get vaccinated for it. While the Covid-19 vaccine is taking up the most attention right now, there are many other vaccines that can help protect you from other diseases. The flu shot is an important one, since flu is common but dangerous to older adults. Supplements can also benefit your immune health. Vitamin or nutrient deficiencies can decrease overall health, so keeping up with regular vitamin intake will help.
  3. Screenings: Screenings are the most common thing people think of when they think of preventative services. Screening for health issues regularly can help you get ahead of treatment. Some of the recommended screenings for older adults include cancer screenings, as well as cholesterol, diabetes, and blood pressure measurements. These make a serious difference in quality of life as we age.

The type of care each person gets will vary. But, what’s important is that you get that care. Medicare and many insurance plans cover the cost of preventative screenings, so you can and should take advantage of the opportunity to get preventative care.

Additional Resources

  1. Preventative Care explainer: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/185121
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