Why You Need Preventive Care
Do you know what kind of preventive screenings you need as an adult? If you’re a parent, then you probably know all about your child’s next trip to the doctor, where he’ll get his next round of shots and learn about screenings necessary for his age. Unfortunately, adults don’t always take as much care with their own health. Preventive care is essential to establishing a baseline and helping you to avoid long-term medical problems. Under the current Affordable Care Act, preventive care is covered at no added cost in every major medical plan, so there’s no excuse to skip your next screening.
A Pound of Cure
You may have heard the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC has the figures to back that statement up. According to them, if every adult in the U.S. got the recommended clinical preventive care that they needed, then 100,000 lives could be saved every year.
Not only does preventive care help you to take care of yourself, but it also sets the stage for your kids as they get older. Establishing the practice of seeing a doctor for routine tests and screenings encourages young people to take their health more seriously. It might be inconvenient to get your blood drawn or wait in an office for an hour each year, but these simple steps could help to detect serious medical conditions well before they have a chance to evolve into long-term problems.
Men, women, children and infants require different preventive services at different times, but the current health care law protects these services at every age without cost sharing. This means that you won’t have to pay out of pocket for preventive care.
What is Preventive Care?
As its name suggests, preventive care is designed to prevent medical conditions from developing, but it also encourages patients to maintain good relationships with their doctors so that any abnormalities can be found and dealt with early. Preventive care includes:
- Well visits for women and children
- Testing for sexually transmitted infections
- Cancer screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies
- Tests for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes
- Pregnancy services for healthy development
- Intervention services, including smoking cessation and weight management
More recently, health care experts, including the American Medical Association, are pushing for less frequent annual wellness visits for healthy adults aged 18 to 40. These guidelines do not apply to people with medical problems, and older Americans should see their doctors more regularly as they age to stay in good health. Preventive care and annual wellness checkups aren’t necessarily synonymous. You might be able to skip a yearly visit with your doctor, but you should get tested for certain diseases if indicated by family history and lifestyle.
How often you see the doctor depends on different factors, such as your age and medical condition. Pregnant women visit more frequently than single men in their 20s. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your needs before deciding on which visits you can skip.