Paying attention to your health when you feel just fine is the best way to stay healthy. You can catch medical issues in their early stages, making treatment less onerous and staving off more serious disease. The top preventive health care measures you can take combine common sense and medical expertise to keep you healthy and maybe even extend your life.
Schedule Regular Screenings
The point of regular screenings for breast, cervical, and colon cancer or for hypertension, cardiac irregularities, and cholesterol levels is to identify problems early so that they can be medically addressed. Hypertension is sometimes referred to as “the silent killer” because people who don’t get their blood pressure checked in regular physical exams may not know they have it. If you feel fine and your tests confirm you’re not at risk, good for you—but don’t use that as an excuse not to show up for your next annual screening.
The value of vaccination goes far beyond childhood immunizations. Adults should get flu shots every year—especially those above 50—and starting at age 65, people should also receive immunizations against pneumonia. Those who had chicken pox as children are vulnerable to shingles later in life, but there a vaccine is now available to protect against it.
The message about the risks of tobacco use has been out there for decades. Yet somehow, people still choose to smoke, vape, or chew tobacco products. Smoking cessation treatment has evolved. If you’ve tried to quit and you haven’t been successful, ask your doctor to recommend ways that may work better for you.
You’ve hear it a million times, but the common-sense advice about preventive health measures you can take bears repeating: eat healthily to lose weight and reduce your chances of developing diabetes; get enough sleep; exercise regularly; limit alcohol use; and reduce stress. Fasten your seat belt, wear a helmet when cycling, and drink your eight cups of water a day.
Preventive care changes as we age. Consult your doctor about what types of screenings and vaccinations you should have and when.