According to Wikipedia, “Preventive medicine or preventive care refers to measures taken to prevent diseases, (or injuries) rather than curing them or treating their symptoms. The term contrasts in method with curative and palliative medicine, and in scope with public health methods (which work at the level of population health rather than individual health).”
Most physicians and patients would agree that the US healthcare system is focused on “curative and palliative medicine”, as opposed to preventative medicine. At the end of the day, we, the patients, need to work hand in hand with our physicians to take a “preventative view” of our health. So how can we take a preventative approach to our health? We all know that we should eat right, exercise, find time to relax, etc. But even the few who actually do EVERYTHING right in regards to their wellbeing are still at risk for disease.
One of the keys to prevention is to know your numbers…yes, your numbers. Whether you are 20 or 60, you should know your cholesterol levels, as well as other basic information such as iron levels.
Are you doing the recommended screenings? Last Friday I had my first colonoscopy, and I was actually looking forward to it. You may think that is odd, but I was eager to find out that I had a clean bill of “colon health”. For you guys out there, are you getting your prostate screenings? Have you checked your PSA lately? Let’s face it, some of these exams are uncomfortable, but I’d much rather have a screening instead of being diagnosed with colon cancer and then being “screened” on a regular basis, as well as the risk of the cancer metastasizing. Let’s face it….36 hours of discomfort is well worth it if it prevents cancer.
Take advantage of health screening promoted by your local health care system. Last year Roald and I had heart scans for only $150 for both us. It was great of us to get a baseline at this phase of our life, and to know if we need treatment to prevent serious problems in the future.
Do you have any high risk behaviors, such as unprotected sex, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, eating too many sugar based products? Of course, it’s easy for the health experts to say …”stop these behaviors”, but than can be a challenge for many of us. So instead of being in denial, get screened. If you have having unprotected sex, then get screened for STD’s on a regular basis. Drink too much….then get screened for your liver function. Are you a sweetaholic? If so test your glucose levels on a regular basis.
Sickness and disease takes a toll on our bodies, so it’s important to also get your immunizations. Since I have asthma, I’m well aware that one bout of the flu can easily escalate to pneumonia, so I get my influenza vaccination each year, and I’m also immunized against pneumonia. The shingles vaccination protocol is for people age 60+, but due to my severe bout of chicken pox as a child, my mother convinced to get vaccinated now.
These are all simple, low cost ways for you to take a preventative approach to your health and to protect against escalating health issues. As the COO for Any Lab Test Now, I have easy access to clinical lab tests, but it can be just as easy for you if you have an Any Lab Test Now (www.anylabtestnow.com) facility in your area. The doctor’s order is included, and you can even get your results interpreted through our relationship with AmeriDoc telemedicine. You are your best advocate for a healthy lifestyle.