What’s the best way to stay proactive about your health?
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is the often repeated saying in medicine. A proactive approach to health can go far in deferring or preventing health problems down the road. But what is the best way to stay proactive about your health?
Schedule Regular Annual Exams
Annual exams, also called physicals, assess your overall health by measuring height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, heart rate and lung functioning. These comprehensive check-ups also give you a chance to update your doctor on your overall health, changes to your family medical history or ask questions about new concerns. Your physician will use all of this information to determine if further screening or testing is necessary. These appointments allow for early detection and intervention by monitoring for changes as they arise.
Follow Screening Schedules
In addition to yearly exams, you may need further screenings depending on your age, gender or risk factors for certain diseases. For example, women over the age of 21 should receive a pap smear every 3-5 years, while women over 40 should get annual mammograms. Men should start receiving prostate cancer screenings at 45 or 50, depending on their individual risk level. Adults of both genders should start regular colorectal cancer screenings at age 45. Your doctor can advise you on the appropriate screenings and schedule for you.
Receive Immunizations as Necessary
Although most immunizations are received during childhood, there are still routine and preventative shots for adults. Seasonally, the flu shot can prevent complications, especially in those who are at higher risk for severe illness. Gardasil can be administered to women up to the age of 25 to prevent cervical cancer, while TDaP can protect adults under the age of 65 against whooping cough and tetanus. For adults over the age of 65, the shingles vaccine is often covered by insurance for free.
Consider Lifestyle Changes
In addition to regular doctor’s visits and keeping up with screenings and immunizations, many preventative measures can be taken at home to ensure lasting health. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet of clean and nutritious food, engaging in regular exercise, reducing stress, getting adequate sleep and avoiding smoking can all reduce the risk of developing chronic health problems.
Need to schedule an annual exam, screening test or immunization? Want guidance on establishing or maintaining a healthy lifestyle to take a proactive approach to your health? Call (864) 574-0070 to schedule an appointment with Westgate Family Physicians.