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The Importance Of Prevention For Health and Wellness

It is important for everyone to take care of his or her health. We need to eat better, exercise more, and take care to reduce risks for disease and that is why preventative care is so important. We should all do what we can to stay healthy.   

The prevention of disease through lifestyle changes and the promotion of healthy lifestyles can improve the health of individuals today and for the rest of their lives. 

Thorough healthcare includes treating sickness, managing chronic care, and preventing diseases. Things that boost prevention, provide for disease management, and encourage health prevention, as well as those that offer health infections are essential to helping us stay healthy.    

A significant part of staying healthy is to be able to communicate and understand your doctor so that you can help him improve your health. A major responsibility they have as medical professional is to educate their patients about their particular health issues, advise them of available services and resources and to take any preventative measures possible.  

Key Ideas Behind Prevention 

Prevention can involve many things. Your lifestyle choices are key in preventing many of the common diseases that kill people every year and this includes heart disease. Lifestyle choices are also key in improving the aging process. 

Some of the key considerations in prevention are:

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Prevention means to prevent, often people wait until it’s too late to consider the changes they should have made long before. 

Learn The Art And Science Of Self-Care

Self-care is a foreign concept to many people, and especially women who spend more time taking care of others and neglecting themselves. Men, also have issues with neglecting regular medical check-ups and preventative screenings. 

Self-care requires you to place your attention towards yourself and thoughtfully consider your health needs and areas where wellness is lacking in your life and within yourself. This includes considerations like stress control, relaxation, diet and exercise. 

Be Mindful Of Your Particular Health Concerns

Reduce Stress

Stress is a major culprit in bad health, and it affects all elements of self and life, including the mental, physical, emotional, and overall quality of life. Many people do not even realize how much stress they are under. It has become a sort of norm in today’s hectic world. 

Stress is a normal part of life; however, those who react to it in a negative way may suffer enormous consequences. Getting stress under control should be a top priority for both men and women of all ages. 

Get Regular Health Screenings

There are various preventative screenings for both men and women that save lives, all of these are detailed further in this report. A preventive service might be advice from your doctor or a test. 

Preventative services can help prevent illnesses or other health conditions. Some preventative care provided by the ACA includes well-women visits, immunizations, HIV screening, cervical cancer screening, and blood pressure screening.  

Nowadays, health screenings have taken the place of the annual physical examination. Instead of everyone getting the same tests and examinations, only the suitable tests are given. Speak with your physician regarding what exams and tests are right for you, as well as your risk factors. 

Most all health insurance plans, at least the good ones cover you for all of your preventative care needs. All private insurance plans offered in the federal marketplace will provide you with the following ten health benefits:

  • Rehabilitative services and those devices that help people with chronic conditions, disabilities, and injuries
  • Prescription drugs
  • Substance use disorder care
  • Mental health care
  • Newborn and maternal care (care given before and after you give birth)
  • Hospitalization (including surgery)
  • Outpatient care 
  • Pediatric care
  • Wellness and preventative care services 
  • Chronic disease management
  • Lab services

Don’t Use Tobacco Or Smoke Cigarettes

Using tobacco and smoking cigarettes are extremely dangerous. Smoking cigarettes results in more than 440,000 deaths in the US each year. Preventable diseases, such as heart disease, lung cancer, throat cancer, mouth cancer, and emphysema can be caused by cigarette use. The sooner you quit smoking, the healthier you will be.

Decrease The Amount Of Alcohol You Drink

Moderate drinking is generally considered not bad for you, this means 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men. 

One can of beer (12 ounces), a four-ounce glass of wine, or a jigger (1 ounce) of hard liquor is equal to one drink. 

Drinking too much alcohol can contribute to certain cancers, such as liver cancer and throat cancer, and can damage the liver. Alcohol also causes deaths from suicides, murders, and car accidents. Alcoholism or alcohol abuse may result in serious life threatening medical conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver and eventual death. Out of control, drinking also has a profound negative impact on emotional and psychological wellbeing and ruins lives.

Eat Healthy

There are many benefits to eating a healthy diet. Diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers can be related to what you eat. By making healthy food choices, you can also lose weight and decrease your cholesterol level. 

Keep A Healthy Weight

Many of us are overweight, obesity levels are at epidemic levels in the US, with 1/3 of adults obese. Having too much weight on your body can increase your chances of arthritis in the weight-bearing joints (such as the knees, hips, or spine) gallbladder disease, certain cancers, stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels, and hypertension. Speak with your doctor to devise a healthy weight loss plan, and do it today! 

Get Enough Exercise

Getting enough exercise can help prevent depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. It can also prevent back injury, stroke, colon cancer, and back injuries. 

Exercising can help you feel better and can help you lose weight if you exercise every day. Try exercising for 30-60 minutes every day for 4-6 times weekly, but don’t forget that any exercise is better than not doing any.  

Don’t Use Tanning Booths Or Sunbath

Exposure to the sun is connected to skin cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in America. It is best to wear protective clothing and hats when you are outside, and limit exposure to the sun while you are outdoors. 

It is important to use sunscreen as it protects the skin and may prevent cancer of the skin. Try to make sure you use sunscreen throughout the year on places such as your hands and face. Select a broad-spectrum sunscreen to be used all the time that has an SPF of at least 15 and one that blocks both UVB and UVA light.  

Engage In Safe Sex

You can practice safe sex if you use a condom and are only having sex with one person who doesn’t have a sexually transmitted disease. 

You should also avoid having high risk sex, such as with people who inject themselves with needles or are generally promiscuous. 

Use a spermicide (an agent that kills sperm cells) with the condom. Talk to your physician about getting an STD test every year.

Keep Your Immunizations Current

There are various immunizations needed in different ages of life, from infancy into adulthood. Additionally, adults need a diphtheria-tetanus shot every ten years. Teens, adults and infants under the age of one year and who haven’t yet had a Tdap shot, should get the vaccine.  

Your physician may substitute a Td shot with a Tdap shot, which also provides protection against whooping cough. 

If you happen to be pregnant and haven’t had a Tdap injection before, you need to get the vaccine late in the second trimester or in your third trimester. 

Talk with your doctor to ensure that all your vaccinations are up to date.

Considerations For Preventative Health Screenings

Screening tests like colonoscopies, Pap tests, and mammograms can tell if you have a disease and can find it early so that it can be treated before it is advanced. Talk to your physician about which tests you need and at what age you need to have them. 

Prevention really is worth a thousand cures. Many times early detection can be very useful in furthering the success of treatment and saving lives. 

The US Preventative Services Task Force and NIH institutes have made the following recommendations: 

  • Blood pressure. You need to have your blood pressure measured every two years.
  • Cholesterol Checks. Women need to have their cholesterol checked regularly beginning at the age of 45. Men should be tested when they reach the age of 35 years of age. If you have heart disease, have diabetes, or smoke, or if you have heart disease in your family, begin having your cholesterol check by the age of 20. 
  • Colorectal cancer testing. You should have a colonoscopy beginning at the age of 50 years. Talk to your doctor about whether you should have a colonoscopy more often. 
  • Depression. If you have felt hopeless, sad, or down in the dumps for more than three weeks and you have lost interest in things you used to love or in life itself, you should talk to your physician about a depression screening.
  • Diabetes. Get tested for diabetes if you are obese, have high cholesterol or high blood.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases. You need to talk to your doctor about whether or not you need screening for STD, such as HIV. Women also need chlamydia testing.

Preventative Care For Women

The US Preventative Task Force has set up some guidelines for women’s preventative care. These are just guidelines. Your nurse or doctor will recommend screening tests just for you that are based on several factors. Ask your nurse or doctor if you don’t understand why a specific test has been recommended for you to have.  

Talk to your insurance plan to see if any of the screening tests are covered. Insurance companies need to provide coverage for preventative services for women. There is no cost to you because of the ACA. 

The screening tests listed here are those that the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has selected. The USPSTF is a collection of non-Federal experts in preventive services (helping to stop disease before it begins). 

These recommendations are evidence-based. This means that science supports these guidelines. The USPSTF is made from doctors, such as health behavior specialists, nurses, family practice physicians, pediatricians, OB/GYN doctors, and nurses.  

Your nurse or doctor can help you remain healthy, make sure to ask lots of questions and discuss any health concerns you have. 

Ask if you are at risk for any chronic conditions or diseases, and ask what screenings you should have based on your medical profile. If you feel your needs are not being met, or that the information you are being given is insufficient or wrong, change doctors.

There are NO stupid questions! Be proactive in your own health care.

16 Key Health Screenings For Women 

  1. Blood pressure testing. Get tested every two years if your blood pressure is less than 120/80. Get tested once per year if your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89. Talk to your doctor about any blood pressure questions you may have or if your blood pressure is greater than 140/90.
  2. Bone mineral testing. This testing doesn’t have to be done until you reach the age of 65 years or older. It should be done in those people who are at risk for osteoporosis. Talk to your physician if you need to have the test repeated. The test is painless and you get only a small amount of radiation each time you have the test. 
  3. Breast cancer screening. This screening test should be started at the age of 50 years. You need to be screened every two years; however, if you have risk factors, you need to be screened early than that. If you are 75 years of age or older, you need to talk to your physician to see if you should be screened.  
  4. Cervical cancer screening. You need a Pap smear every three years if you have a cervix or are older than 21 years of age. If you are at least thirty years of age, you can get a Pap smear and a human papilloma virus test about every five years. Have a Pap test and a human papilloma virus test every 5 years if you are over the age of thirty as long as you have a cervix. If you are older than 40 years of age, you need to have a human papilloma virus and a Pap smear every five years if you have your cervix intact. Over the age of 75, you need to ask your physician if you need to have a Pap smear.  
  5. Chlamydia testing. Get a checkup for chlamydia every year up until you are 24 years of age or older if you are pregnant or sexually active. When you are 25 years of age or older, you need to get a chlamydia test if you are pregnant or sexually active. You should be tested for chlamydia if you are pregnant or at high risk for the disease. If you are thirty years old, you should get a test for chlamydia if you are pregnant or at an increased risk for the disease. If you are at least 40 years of age, you should get a chlamydia test if you are at an increased risk for the disease or are sexually active. If you are 75 years of age, you still need a chlamydia test if you are at an increased risk for the disease or are sexually active.  
  6. Cholesterol testing. At the age of 20, you need to get a cholesterol test if you are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. You need to ask your physician how often you should have the test. You should get a cholesterol test on a regular basis if you are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and at least 30 years of age. If you are at least 45 year of age, you need to get a test for cholesterol if you are at an increased risk for the disease. If you are older than 75 years of age, you need cholesterol testing every year. 
  7. Colorectal cancer screening. You need to have a colonoscopy examination starting at the age of 50. Ask you nurse or doctor about whether or not you should have a colonoscopy or some other type of test. You need to be screened for colon cancer up until the age of 75. 
  8. Diabetes screening. You should get a screening test for diabetes if you are overweight or obese or have high blood pressure. The same is true for all other ages.  
  9. Gonorrhea testing. Get tested for gonorrhea if you are at an increased risk for the disease, are pregnant, or are sexually active. The same is true for all other ages.  
  10. HIV testing. You need to be tested for HIV at least once if you are over the age of 21 years of age. Talk to your doctor about your risk for the disease, as you may need to have further testing. Every pregnant woman needs to have a test for HIV. The same is true of all other ages. 
  11. Mammogram. Have a mammogram every 1-2 years beginning at the age of 40.
  12. Syphilis Testing. You need to get a syphilis testing if you are pregnant or at an increased risk for the disease. Get a test for syphilis if you are over the age of 30 if you are pregnant or at an increased risk for the disease. If you are 45 years or older, you only need to get tests if you are at an increased risk for the disease. 
  13. Pay attention to the health of your breast. Because breast cancer is one of the more common diseases in women, it pays to pay attention to your breasts. Women should have a mammogram every two years to screen for breast pain if they are 50-74 years of age. Individuals who are at a greater risk for prevention of breast cancer, such as having a family history for the disease, might need to start having mammograms sooner or have them more often.  
  14. Immunizations. Check with your doctor to make sure all your immunizations are current.
  15. Get a regular Pap test. Unless your physician suggests that you need to have a Pap test more often, you need to be tested every three years starting at 21 years of age and on to 65 years of age. If you happen to be 30-65 years of age and you need to have Pap tests less frequently. You should talk to your physician about getting a Pap test that has HPV (human papilloma virus) testing about every five years.  There are some things that increase your risk for cervical cancer. Your physician will consider these when making a recommendation as to how often you need to have a Pap test. If you are over the age of 65 years of age, speak to your physician about how often you should have a Pap test. If you have been having them regularly and they have been normal, you may not need to have them anymore.  If you have had removal of your cervix along with a hysterectomy, speak with your physician about how often you need to have a Pap test. If you’ve never had cervical cancer or a high-grade precancerous lesion, talk to your doctor about how often you need to have a Pap test.  Women should ask their doctor about being evaluated for colon cancer, beginning at the age of 50 years of age. Depending on your family history and your risk factors, your physician may want to check you out for other kinds of cancer. 
  16. Dental examination—you should have a dental examination every 6 to 12 months after the age of 18 years or as recommended by your dental hygienist or dentist. The purpose of these exams are to remove bacteria and plaque that could result in gum disease or tooth decay. The dentist will also check you for mouth diseases. If your teeth have problems, it could mean that you have osteoporosis.

More Information on Screening Tests for Women

You can read more from www.womenshealth.gov. Some things included at this site are the following:

  • Chlamydia fact sheet. This fact sheet gives you information on how chlamydia and its symptoms are spread. It also helps you understand how the disease is managed and how to prevent getting chlamydia. 
  • Diabetes Fact Sheet. This is a sheet that talks about the risk factors for diabetes and tells you the symptoms, signs, and treatments of diabetes in women.  
  • HIV Testing. All people should know the status of HIV in their blood. This fact sheet discusses HIV testing, the types of tests you can get, and how to get the test anonymously. 
  • Gonorrhea Fact Sheet. This is a sheet that gives you information on gonorrhea, as well as its symptoms, options for treatment, and how to keep from getting the infection.
  • Mammogram Fact Sheet. This is a fact sheet that talks about the types of mammograms you should have and explains how often you need to get them. It gives you the facts about their effectiveness and safety.
  • Osteoporosis fact sheet. This sheet gives you information on osteoporosis in pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and in men.   
  • Weight loss fact sheet. This sheet talks about obesity and tells you the best ways to lose weight. It gives statistics on how many women are obese and talks about the various health problems you can have with obesity. It tells overweight women how they can lose weight so they can be healthier. 
  • Pap test fact sheet. This is a sheet that tells you what a Pap test is and why you need regular Pap tests. It also tells you why you need a regular Pap test and how best to get rid of the infection.  
  • Syphilis fact sheet. This sheet explains what the disease is like, as well as how it is spread. It also talks about how you can avoid the infection, describes the way the infection is treated and lists sources to get a hold of more on syphilis.  

Preventative Care For Men

It is just as important for men to have preventative care as it is for women. Men tend to neglect their health but they also have shorter lifespans, and while heart disease is the #1 killer of both men and women, men have specific health concerns that they need to consider, and be screened for.

15 Key Health Screenings For Men

 Here are the recommended tests a man should have.

  1. A physical examination—you should have a physical starting at the age of 18 every 2-3 years. Talk to your physician about when to get a physical. You need a physical to check for various health conditions, keep your vaccinations current, and discuss your lifestyle.
  2. Colorectal health—you need to have a colonoscopy, starting at the age of 50. You can have other colon cancer screening tests, such as a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a CT colonography, or a flexible sigmoidoscopy. You may need to be screened earlier if colon cancer runs in your family. The purpose of colon cancer screening is to remove polyps or early cancers that might lead to colon cancer.  
  3. Diabetes—you need to have a fasting blood sugar level, also known as a blood glucose test at the age of 18. You should get a diabetes test if you take medicines for hypertension or have a BP of more than 135/80. Get a screening test for diabetes if you take medicine for high blood pressure or if your blood pressure is greater than 135/80. If you are obese, you should also be screened. The purpose of this test is to let the doctor know if you have diabetes before it gets out of hand. Diabetes can result in damage to your nerves, kidneys, feet, eyes and brain as well as heart disease. 
  4. Eye screening—you should have an eye examination at the age of 20 and up to the age of 64. You should have an eye exam after the age of 65 every one to two years. You should have your eyes checked at least once between the age of 20 and 29, and have an eye exam between the ages of 30-39. At the age of forty, you should have a baseline screening for eye diseases, with follow-ups as recommended by your doctor. The purpose of the test is to screen for vision abnormalities and test for eye disease. 
  5. Hearing screening—between the ages of 18 to 35 you should have your ears tested once every ten years. If you’re over the age of 50, you need to have a hearing test every three years. The purpose of this test is to make sure you can hear well and have no ear diseases.
  6. Dental examination—you should have a dental examination and hearing test if you are over the age of 18 years. They should be done every 6 to 12 months, or as recommended by your dental hygienist or dentist. The purpose of these exams are to remove bacteria and plaque that could result in gum disease or tooth decay. The dentist will also check you for mouth diseases. 
  7. Abdominal aneurysm screening—this should be done one time between the ages of 65 and 75 years of age, especially if you smoke. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an outpouching of the aorta that could burst open and cause immediate death.
  8. Blood pressure screening—you should have your blood pressure checked by the age of 18. You should have it checked every couple of years. Blood pressure screenings are checked to see if you have hypertension, which can result in eye difficulties, kidney damage, heart failure, and heart attacks. Older men need to monitor their blood pressure regularly as a preventative measure against heart disease.
  9. Cholesterol screening—you should be screened for high cholesterol starting at age 35. It should be done every five years. If you have a family history of heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, or if you smoke, you should be screened for cholesterol by the age of 20. The purpose of the test is to see if you have elevated cholesterol levels that can lead to heart disease. 
  10. Prostate screening—you should have a prostate exam starting at the age of 50. You should talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of being screened for heart disease. If you are at a high risk for prostate problems, you need to be screened earlier. You don’t have to be screened if you are not expected to live longer than ten years or have no symptoms of prostate problems. The purpose of the test is to screen you for prostate cancer before it gets out of hand. If a PSA or digital rectal exam is abnormal, the doctor will schedule you for a prostate biopsy. 
  11. Sexually transmitted disease screening—this should be done on every man over the age of 18, depending on risk factors and sexual activity. All men with more than one sexual partner should be tested for HIV. The purpose of this testing is to prevent HIV infections as well as other STDs.
  12. Testicular self-examination testing—this should be done starting at the age of eighteen. The purpose of this test is find small changes in the testes that might be testicular cancer.  
  13. Skin examinations—this should be done by age 18. You need to talk to your doctor to see if this type of screening is exactly what you need. The purpose of this exam is to track moles that might turn into cancer. 
  14. Immunizations—you should have a flu vaccine once you have reached the age of six months. It is done once per year and protects you from flu viruses. Hepatitis A testing is done on children but can be given to high-risk adults. It is given in 2 doses, about 6-18 months apart to kids over the age of one. The purpose of this test is to protect you from getting hepatitis A, which can cause diarrhea, stomach pains, jaundice, and a flu-like illness.  
  15. Hepatitis B screening—this is often done in children but can be done in adults who haven’t yet had the vaccine. The purpose of this test is to protect you from hepatitis B, which is a liver disease that can lead to a chronic liver infection.  

Final Thoughts 

Preventative screening is necessary for men, women, and children. By screening for diseases, they can be detected before you actually become ill.   

Pay attention to which screening tests you need and follow through with your doctor. 

Prevention really is worth a thousand cures.

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