Typically, we decide it’s time to go to the doctor when we’re sick and in need of medical attention, but the key to staying healthier and not needing that medical attention is to see your doctor on a regular basis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 100,000 lives would be saved each year if everyone in the U.S. received the recommended clinical preventive care they need.
What may often deter many Americans from scheduling these critical doctor visits is the cost and anxiety of trying to navigate the health system.
To help simplify this, here are three types of preventive care you shouldn’t avoid:
Adults should regularly be screened for high blood pressure, depression, sexually transmitted diseases, cancer and substance abuse, depending on a person’s gender, age and health. In most cases, screenings are administered during routine wellness visits to determine whether a person may have a potentially serious health condition. This enables people to seek treatment earlier and to take steps that lower their risk of the condition worsening. For example, monitoring and keeping blood pressure under control has proven to help reduce the risk of heart disease by 33 percent – and by 50 percent among individuals with diabetes.
Each year, the lives of 42,000 children are saved by required immunizations, but many people assume these regular vaccines are just for children when they are for people of all ages. Vaccines are one of the most effective ways to prevent harmful diseases – including those that may lead to hospitalization or even death. One of the most common immunizations that nearly every American is recommended to receive on an annual basis is the flu shot, which has become a serious health concern in recent years. The CDC recommends certain immunizations, depending on your age.
- Keep Your Mental Health in Check
Simply talking with your primary care physician about your lifestyle habits may impact your overall health. Make sure to share details of your diet, how regularly you exercise, whether or not you smoke and how often you drink alcohol. Your doctor can use that information to help guide you to the tools and resources you may need to live a healthier life.
Because preventive care may have a significant effect on a person’s long-term health, many health plans have eliminated the concern about cost by covering these three services entirely – with no required copays or deductibles. Check with your individual health plan to see what’s covered for you.
Click here to see a personalized checklist of recommended preventive care services based on your age and gender. Consider talking about these recommendations with your doctor to help determine what’s right for you and to make the most out of your visit.
To learn more about general preventive care guidelines for children and adults, click here.