Defining Preventive Care
When someone integrates healthy behaviors into their lifestyle, they are practicing preventive care. This type of care takes place before any signs or symptoms of a condition or disease have been detected.
Types of Preventive Care
Below are examples of different types of preventive care:
- Consistent Physical Activity - helps prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer, along with degenerative conditions effecting the muscles and nervous system such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.
- Proper Nutrition - eating a wide variety of nutritious foods helps keep the body's systems functioning properly and can prevent conditions such as diabetes.
- Stress Management - helps individuals prevent short-term conditions such as ulcers and long-term conditions such as heart disease.
- Avoiding Tobacco - not smoking or chewing, along with avoiding second-hand smoke, can help prevent emphysema and lung cancer.
- Preventive Screenings - participating in screenings for cancer, heart disease and diabetes allows for proper diagnosis and early treatment.
While preventive care costs much less than treatments in terms of money, it is much more of a long-term investment in terms of time and effort. Education, time management and dedication are all critical to practicing effective preventive care.
Here's an example. Tom is 50 years old and has a family history of heart disease. While he has no heart disease risk factors, he walks three miles per day, avoids fast food and visits his doctor annually. Tom's lifestyle certainly takes time and effort, but could help prevent him from experiencing heart disease like his older family members.
Preventive Care Benefits
The benefits of preventive care are extensive. Below are some of the most important reasons to practice preventive care:
- Cost Savings - preventive behaviors and treatments have little to no cost. Taking a walk or avoiding second-smoke does not cost anything, and many insurance companies now cover preventive visits as part of their plans.
- Improved Mental Health - while much of the emphasis is placed on physical health, preventive care also has a positive impact on mental health. Those practicing preventive care should experience fewer financial difficulties, less chronic pain and better overall mood.
- Quality of Life - not only does preventive care increase the length of life, but it also improves quality of life. Those regularly practicing preventive care will have fewer physical and mental limitations and will have a much easier time dealing with the ups and downs of life.
- Improved Care - by participating regularly in screenings and checkups, individuals can develop stronger relationships with health care providers and establish a lengthy record of care. This will allow for better treatments as individuals experience conditions and diseases later in life.
Importance of Preventive Care
Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases account for 7 of 10 American deaths and 75 percent of the nation's health spending. The two leading causes of death are heart disease and cancer, and both diabetes and obesity continue to skyrocket. In many cases, these diseases can be addressed through lifestyle improvements, screenings and other forms of preventive care.
Unfortunately, many continue to practice unhealthy lifestyles and do not take advantage of preventive services offered by health care providers and communities. Providing proper education, increasing awareness and providing opportunities are all important parts of increasing the prevalence of preventive care.
Preventive care is one of the best ways to prevent diseases and conditions that currently impact many people. The benefits of preventive care are not only physical, but mental and financial as well. Increasing the amount of people practicing preventive care could have countless benefits for these individuals and society in general.
Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for your information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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