By paying attention to the power of preventive care.

Preventive health care means taking care of your body and mind in order to prevent disease and live a happy life. If you have noticed that your energy levels have dissipated or you’re easily stressed, it’s not necessarily because you are aging. It may be because there are hidden health conditions that need to be detected and treated early. Some diseases like to sneak up on us and tiny symptoms may go unnoticed in our busy everyday lives. Preventative Care is the detective that can hunt down those illnesses before they take hold. Physicians today have highly advanced imaging and laboratory tests at their fingertips that can detect and treat disease in its earliest stages. BUT, you have to visit your doctor for them to keep you well.

The types of preventive care that you need will depend upon your age, gender, and risk factors. However, there are standard screenings and tests that everyone should have in order to stay healthy and that is what we are going to tell you about here.

Adults, both men and women should have these screenings annually:

  • Blood pressure and cholesterol screenings for heart health
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Diabetes screening
  • Age-specific immunizations
  • Height and weight/Body Mass Index (BMI) to screen for overweight or obesity.
  • Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually active women

Women have specialized preventive care needs and need additional tests to stay healthy. They include:

  • Breast cancer screening (mammogram)
  • Cervical cancer screening
  • Chlamydia screening
  • Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually active women
  • Osteoporosis screening for women over age 60 depending on risk factors

When it comes to men and their special needs, the biggest challenge is getting them to the doctor. You may not want to hear this, but if you are a man over the age of 35, you need regular check-ups and a primary care physician who can follow your health. Don’t depend upon your wife or girlfriend to nag you to the doctor’s office! Men are more susceptible to some diseases, like heart disease and prostate cancer and the only way you can stay ahead of them is to see your doctor regularly.

Screening for Cancer

Many of the tests listed above are designed specifically to detect cancer at its earliest and most treatable stages. They are worth repeating. According to the American Cancer Society, these screenings are the most effective ways to prevent and detect the following types of cancer:

  • Breast cancer: Women age 45 to 54, annual mammograms and then every two years thereafter
  • Colonoscopy: Starting at age 50, both men and women
  • Cervical cancer testing should start at age 21

The best thing for you to do is to live a life that helps to prevent cancer. Screenings and treatments are great, but there are many things you can do to prevent getting cancer in the first place. You owe it to yourself and your family to do live a healthy life.

Number One: Do Not Smoke or Chew Tobacco. If you haven’t started smoking do not start. If you are a smoker stop. Do everything you can to stop smoking – whatever it takes.  Smoke 1 or 5 or 10 fewer cigarettes a day. Track it. Reward yourself every time you hit your goal.  Buy a patch.  Carry your children’s photos in the cigarette pack so the lives you are putting at risk will be in front of you every time you reach for a cigarette.
Ask us for help. Our physicians will connect you with effective smoking cessation programs and treatments TODAY. It’s not easy to stop smoking. It may be one of the most difficult things you do in your life. It’s also one of the most worthwhile.

Number Two: Get moving! Human beings are not designed to be sedentary. You would never know it by looking at our current lifestyles, but we are hunters and gatherers with bodies designed to be on the move. So lace up your sneakers, walk out the door and get moving. You will be amazed at what a 30 minute walk in the cool morning air can do to improve your body, mind and spirit. If you don’t walk, start slowly. If you walk, try jogging. Talk to your doctor and ask how much exercise you should be doing and advice for adding light weights. They are the best way to prevent muscles from weakening with age.

Number Three: Eat better food. Eat the colors of the rainbow! Explore new horizons in the produce section of your supermarket and start eating red, green, and yellow fruits and vegetables. Your digestion will thank you, you will feel more full and your energy will soar.

Other healthy eating tips include:

  • Cook at home instead of eating out. If you don’t like to cook for yourself, visit the salad bar at your local supermarket and pair it with some oven cooked chicken off the market’s rotisserie.
  • Decrease your salt intake. Americans eat twice the sodium they need every day. It contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Use a lot of delicious spices and you won’t notice the salt is lowered or missing altogether.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. Too much of anything is not good.

Number Four: Take Care of Your Mind. Meditation has been proven to calm your mind and set focus. It can improve concentration and reduce anxiety. You don’t have to go to a meditation retreat and spend a week sitting in the woods. Begin practicing meditation with 5 or 10 minutes of practice, sitting in a quiet space, focusing on your breathing. Gradually extend the time you meditate.

Number Five: Use Common Sense.

  • Use sunscreen when you go outside. In fact, use it like moisturizer on all exposed body parts every day.
  • Know your disease risks and family history. Don’t tempt fate. If your family has a history of diabetes or breast cancer, get regular check-ups and educate yourself about preventive care.
  • Get regular check-ups especially full blood work. The blood gives physicians a lot of information about your health.
  • Live with good intentions and kindness to others. Don’t invite anger and negativity into your life.

This may seem like a lot of information and too much to take on all at once. That’s why the physicians at AG Urgent Care are trained to advise you and help you live a healthy life. They can help you stay up to date on important preventive screenings. Our membership plans make it easy and affordable to take good care of your health. You can read more about our membership plans here.

You want to live life well and AG Urgent Care can help.