For many people, a trip to the doctor’s office is only warranted when they become sick and need treatment for what ails them. This reactive approach is often because they are reluctant to spend money and time on healthcare unless they think it’s absolutely necessary.
However, it makes much more sense to proactively prevent a medical problem from happening in the first place than to deal with it when it occurs. That’s the purpose of preventive care, a type of medical service aimed at detecting and preventing serious diseases and medical problems before they can become a major cause for concern.
A few examples of preventive care include:
- Annual checkups
- Flu shots
- Certain tests and screenings
- Weight management
Why Preventive Care Is Important
Preventive healthcare offers these key benefits:
- It improves your long-term health. Preventive healthcare measures catch potential medical problems before they become real problems that are harder to treat. Take, for example, regular wellness checks that test your blood pressure. If your doctor discovers that it is increasing, they can prescribe medication or recommend steps you can take to lower your blood pressure before it develops into a serious problem, such as stroke.
- It can extend your lifespan. Preventive care can boost your longevity by allowing you to avoid life-threatening or life-altering medical problems or catching them early enough to make treating them much easier. A good example is practicing weight management to shed and keep off excess pounds that could cause heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
- It can help you avoid high medical expenses. Practicing preventive healthcare is considerably less expensive than the hospitalization and treatment costs incurred when you have a serious health problem. In addition, most health insurance plans cover preventive care costs completely – even if you haven’t reached your deductible.
How to Practice Preventive Care
Once you understand the importance of preventive care, it’s just as important to practice it. There are several areas you can focus on to maintain your health and avoid future medical problems:
- Your physical health and wellness – Annual wellness exams – in which your doctor checks your blood pressure, heart rate, height, weight, cholesterol, and glucose levels – are essential regardless of your age and health history. Depending on your age, gender, and medical history, you should also be screened for potential health problems, including type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, high cholesterol, and osteoporosis. Health screenings can catch a disease in its initial stages when it is simpler to treat. Women should also have an annual pelvic exam and have their gynecologist perform a Pap smear and breast examination to screen for any potential health problems.
- Your weight – One of the major risk factors for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer is being overweight or obese. You can practice weight management by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet of lean protein, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.
- Your mental health – Depression and mental health problems can lead to substance abuse, eating disorders, elevated stress levels, or even suicide. If you are starting to experience bouts of anxiety or depression, don’t hesitate to undergo a mental health screening, so you can focus on resolving the source of the problem before they create other problems that can negatively impact your health.
- Your vaccinations – In addition to seasonal flu shots, you should consider getting vaccines for hepatitis A, tetanus, shingles, and pneumonia. A flu shot is especially important if you are older and more susceptible to a serious health problem stemming from the influenza virus.
Preventive Care in Mount Ayr, Iowa
At Ringgold County Hospital (RCH) in Mount Ayr, Iowa, our goal is to provide the highest quality, comprehensive healthcare services to our patients. In addition to our outpatient hospital services and family care clinic for a wide range of conditions, we offer preventive care at regularly scheduled visits with highly qualified medical specialists.
No matter what type of specialty healthcare you require, we can ensure that you receive it. Best of all, there is no need to travel miles to get the same quality of medical care at a big-city hospital. At RCH, our dedicated healthcare professionals treat you like family.