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Everything You Should Know About Preventive Care

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  • Written By: Frederick Health
Everything You Should Know About Preventive Care

It’s a term you may hear often: from your doctor, in advertisements, or from your insurance company. But what exactly is preventive care? What’s included in it? Why does it matter? We’re here to walk you through it.

What is preventive care?

You may not think about visiting the doctor unless you’re sick. Preventive care is anything you do to help yourself stay healthy before you get sick. It helps prevent the development or spread of serious diseases, conditions, or medical problems before they become major. Preventive care can help you stay healthier longer. It can also save your life.

What does preventive care include?

While the term preventive care is general, it includes many elements. From a healthcare perspective, it includes:

  • Annual checkups help you stay proactive about your health. With normal well visits at Primary Care, your doctor learns about your unique medical, family, and social history and how those factors affect your health.
  • Annual screenings can identify diseases or conditions before they progress. Your doctor can recommend certain screenings based on your personal and family medical history, risk factors, and lifestyle.
  • Staying up to date on your immunizations including influenza (flu) and COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccines help protect you and those around you from diseases like tetanus, measles, chickenpox, and more.
  • Regular blood tests can check the function of organs such as your kidneys, liver, thyroid, and heart. They can also catch diseases or conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, anemia, and more before you have symptoms.

From a lifestyle perspective, preventive care means:

  • Eating a healthy diet including many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and fat-free or low-fat milk products. This also includes avoiding foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, excessive salt, and added sugars.
  • Staying active and getting regular exercise to help prevent heart disease, obesity, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and more. Adults should be getting at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity exercise.
  • Not smoking or using tobacco which can cause cancers, COPD, gum disease and tooth loss, heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety, and more.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption to no more than 2 drinks a day for men or 1 drink a day for women. Excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems such as high blood pressure, cancers, a weakened immune system, alcohol dependence, and more.

Why is preventive care important?

Preventive care can help you avoid health problems in the future. For example, high blood pressure is extremely common—nearly half of adults in the U.S. have it, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the condition typically has no symptoms. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly.

By getting the appropriate screenings, tests, and immunizations, your likelihood of developing certain diseases and conditions lessens, which helps to increase your overall lifespan.

Preventive care also helps save you money. With most insurance plans, annual well visits are available at no extra cost to you. By getting annual screenings, you can catch diseases or conditions before they progress. Waiting to treat a health issue can end up costing a lot of money, not to mention the negative effects it can have on your health.

At Frederick Health, treatment through prevention is the focus of your care. Our providers are here to evaluate and treat your healthcare needs, and help you access exceptional care safely and easily. Schedule an appointment with Primary Care for regular checkups and screenings.