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Preventative Care: Why it Matters

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  • Written By: Flagler Health+
Preventative Care: Why it Matters

Scheduling regular physicals, check-ups and even dental cleanings can be a hassle for anyone—and if you’re already in good health, those appointments can seem like a waste of your time.

It’s quite common for people to visit doctors and other (health care) services only when they think something is wrong with their health. But while this type of care is important and potentially life-saving, it’s a mistake to think your health care providers are only a resource when you’re actively dealing with health issues.

By making regular visits to your doctor or other health care provider, you can actually help avoid certain health issues entirely—and even when problems do arise, preventative health care can reduce the severity of those issues, delivering a number of benefits that could last for years, if not decades into the future.

Read on to learn more about the value of preventative health care—along with tips on how to make sure you’re doing everything you can to enjoy a long, healthy life.

What is Preventative Care?

If you only visit your doctor when you have a health concern you want to address, this means you’re typically seeking out health care professionals to only receive diagnostic care – the kind of care that diagnoses or treat symptoms you’ve already developed. This includes health care to diagnose or treat everything from a broken bone to rare forms of cancer.

While diagnostic care is important, it’s only one half of the care services you can receive from a health care provider. Preventative care refers to a wide range of tests, screens, treatments and other services that aim to prevent or alleviate many different health conditions before they develop.

By taking a proactive approach to treating and guarding against these health issues, patients are able to reduce their reliance on diagnostic care—which can be costly, uncomfortable, and more time-intensive than making regular appointments to receive preventative care.

Why Should Patients Seek Out Preventative Health Care?

Preventative health care can be just as life-changing—and life-saving—as diagnostic care. But the full range of benefits that come from regular preventative care visits are extensive, and can include the following:

  • Preventing certain health conditions from developing in the first place. From vaccines and boosters to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, preventative care could help a patient completely avoid certain diseases and conditions—some of which could prove fatal.
  • Lower health care costs. When you pay for low-cost preventative health care and are able to avoid more intensive treatments and care, it inevitably reduces your spending on health care.
  • Reduced suffering. Even when diagnostic care is able to help you overcome conditions you have developed, treatments and recovery may still result in unnecessary pain, suffering and discomfort that preventative care could help you avoid or alleviate.
  • Less time invested into receiving health care. Patients are encouraged to think of preventative care visits as small time commitments that end up saving you time in the future. You may enjoy fewer health care appointments, treatments, and recovery periods thanks to the preventative care you receive earlier in life.
  • An improved quality of life. Fewer diseases and conditions will make it easy to spend more of your time doing the things you enjoy.
  • A longer life expectancy. A number of research studies have concluded that access to preventative care services can increase the average life expectancy of the population those health care providers serve.

Common Types of Preventative Care

Preventative care encompasses a wide range of health care services targeted to individuals at any stage of life. From newborns to the elderly, regular preventative care can help protect you against a number of ailments and other health issues.

The most common types of preventative care include:

  • Screenings to identify early signs of treatable or curable conditions, ranging from genetic conditions identified at birth to mammograms, colonoscopies and other cancer screenings for high-risk patients;
  • Blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes checks to help identify and prevent potential cardiovascular conditions;
  • Vaccinations against viruses and other communicable disease;
  • Wellness visits for children and adults to discuss health concerns and check for signs of common health issues;
  • Counseling related to alcohol use, weight gain, healthy eating, depression and other mental health and wellness concerns;

In addition to these common preventative health services, your may also recommend other types of preventive care based on your existing health conditions, your family history, or your overall risk factor for certain health issues.

If you want to take better advantage of preventative health care for yourself or for your family and dependents, the first step you need to take is to establish care with a primary care practice. A primary care provider can help connect you to preventative care services and even keep you on schedule for screenings, vaccinations, and other essential care.

Don’t have a primary care provider? Schedule an appointment today to start reaping the benefits of preventative care.