Many of us think that going to the doctor is only necessary when we are sick, and that we can control our health through eating healthy and being active. So it may come as a surprise that maintaining healthy lifestyle habits is only part of preventing illness. Preventive healthcare also plays an important part in staying well.
Preventive healthcare involves:
- Everyday healthy habits, especially as recommended by your doctor
- Regular check-ups with your primary care physician
- Periodic health screenings
All age groups should receive regular (typically annual) check-ups with their primary care physician (PCP). Preventive care appointments help your doctor identify potential problems as well as determine if family history or lifestyle choices could affect your health in the future.
Annual check-ups also allow you to:
- Develop and maintain a relationship with your health care provider
- Discuss how to start and/or maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Screen and track diseases, like high blood pressure or diabetes
- Look for future disease risk, like high cholesterol and obesity
- Learn how to recognize changes in your body that might not be normal
- Update vaccinations
- Keep centralized records of visits to specialists, all prescriptions, and health history
Your PCP can recommend how often you should schedule a visit, as well as what types of screenings and immunizations you or your family needs. Recommended screenings can differ for adults and children.
Immunizations help to protect against potentially-devastating diseases. Due to vaccinations, today there are very few cases of polio and diphtheria in the U.S. By keeping vaccinations up-to-date, you are protecting yourself, your family and those around you. It is much easier to prevent these diseases rather than trying to treat them. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers information on immunizations for children, teens, and adults.
Health insurance plans for 2014 must include many preventive care benefits, including Essential Health Benefits. For example, a yearly visit, certain screenings, and immunizations are available to you at no extra charge. Healthcare.gov provides a list of preventive services for adults, woman and children that should be free through your insurance plan. Speak with your insurance carrier to determine what is covered under your policy.
Preventive healthcare is an important part of your lifelong health. Be sure to talk to your PCP to determine the best care for you.