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Preventive Care

Preventative care and services are measures that are performed in an effort to prevent an illness or injury. Common examples of preventative care are immunizations and yearly physicals. In fact, any screening test done in order to catch a disease early is considered a preventative service, such as routine Pap tests for women or prostate exams for men. Medications, like low-dose daily asprin therapy, and counseling services, such as nutrition and exercise guidance, are also examples of preventative care and services.

Types of Preventive Care

Women have a number of preventative screening tests to take advantage of. Adult women (and men) should have their cholesterol levels checked yearly and their blood pressure checked every two years. Once sexually active, or once they’ve reached the age of 21, every woman should get a Pap test, which is a screening tool for cervical cancer. As long as these test results are normal, the test can be repeated once every one to three years. Women over the age of 40 have different preventative needs. At this age, women should begin to get mammograms every year or so, which screen for breast cancer. Women over 50 should also get a test to screen for colorectal cancer. Women over 65 should have regular bone density testing to screen for osteoporosis.

Along with screening tests, there are several medications that can help women prevent illnesses like osteoporosis. Calcium is a common preventative medicine that can prevent a number of bone problems. Pregnant patients often take a plethora of preventative medications, including prenatal vitamins, iron and folic acid — all in an effort to prevent any complications.

The first and most common preventative tests for adult men are regular checks of their weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. For men over 50, a test to screen for colorectal cancer is recommended. Men older than 50 should also consider prostate exams to screen for prostate cancer, with current studies suggesting that they should be done every four years. Of course, along with these tests, preventative care includes counseling on different prevention practices including proper diet and exercise, safe sex practices and even smoke detectors in the home.

Most Effective Preventive Services

  1. Daily aspirin use for men over 40 and women over 50.
  2. Childhood immunizations.
  3. Smoking cessation advice and tools to help you quit.
  4. Hypertension screening and treatment for adults 18 and older.
  5. Cholesterol screening and treatment for men 35 and older and women 45 and older.