Make Your Health a Priority with Preventive Care

Make Your Health a Priority with Preventive Care

Make Your Health a Priority with Preventive Care

Lee esto en EspañolYou owe it to yourself to take care of your health. One good place to start is by scheduling your yearly preventive health care exam.

Preventive care is very important for people of all ages. Scheduling an annual preventive care visit will give you a chance to see if you’re on the right track with your health. It can also provide a bit of direction and motivation for taking better care of yourself. And it’s also a good time to establish, or build on, your relationship with your doctor. That can make it easier for you to get care if you have a health problem later.

Exam Basics

An annual visit includes a complete physical exam. It’s also time to talk with your doctor about your health history and any changes in health you are noticing. You can find out what screenings are right for you. You can also work with your doctor to set specific health goals.

These visits may include:

  • Services, like shots, that improve your health by preventing diseases and other health problems
  • Screenings to check for things like heart disease, diabetes and cancer
  • Tests for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels
  • Education and counseling about your lifestyle, like handling stress, your diet, and level of activity 

Based on your age and health history, you may be encouraged to get certain preventive cancer screenings. Make sure to discuss the need for specific screening tests, such as mammograms or colonoscopies, with your primary care provider.

Remember, many serious health issues like cancer and heart disease don’t show symptoms in the early stages. Preventive care can help catch those problems early, when it’s easier to treat them.

The preventive care exam is one basic step for better health. You can also boost your health and wellbeing by making some key choices:

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Don’t use tobacco.
  • Limit alcohol use.
  • Aim for a healthy weight.
Better Health for Kids of All Ages

Kids need an annual wellness exam just like adults do. It is sometimes called a well-child visit. Regular exams leaving site icon help the doctor track your child’s growth and development. They can also catch problems early.

During a well-child visit, your child’s doctor may check:

  • Height and weight
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart and lungs
  • Ears and vision

Even older kids need checkups. Some diseases and conditions first show up after puberty. Scoliosis, diabetes, obesity and depression are just some of the health issues teens can have. So be sure to take them for their annual exams, too.

Planning an annual exam is a good step toward better health at any age.

Sources: Women’s Health Checkup, leaving site icon Health Checkup, leaving site icon U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2020; Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020; The Benefits of Well-Child Visits, leaving site icon American Academy of Pediatrics, 2018

Originally published 12/3/2020; Reviewed 2021