The Importance of Preventive Care
We normally think of going to our medical provider only when we are sick, injured, or have a condition that requires it. But, that leaves out an incredibly important part of healthcare: preventive care. Preventive care, which is often used interchangeably with “preventative care,” is when you receive medical care to help prevent you from getting sick or injured later. So, what exactly does this entail, and why is it so important?
What Is Preventive Care?
As mentioned earlier, preventive care is care you get while you are healthy in order to avoid getting sick later on. It is a proactive form of healthcare to limit your potential health risks and make sure you stay as healthy as possible. Here are some of the most common types of preventive care:
- Vaccinations – Getting vaccinated is one of the most beneficial forms of preventive care. Vaccines help protect your body and prevent you from contracting harmful diseases and illnesses. There are vaccines to defend your body from all types of health risks, including influenza, polio, tetanus, chickenpox, hepatitis, HPV, and many others.
- Screenings/Exams – Screenings and exams are other vital forms of preventive care, as they can help detect risk factors for disease or even catch a disease in its early stages. Screenings and exams are performed on patients who don’t have any symptoms. This helps patients figure out if they are at high risk for developing certain diseases and make any necessary changes to their lifestyle that might decrease that risk.
These screenings and exams also help patients who do have a disease catch it early on so their provider can do more to cure, reverse, or help recovery from the disease. Some of the most common screenings and exams include cholesterol screening/lipid profiling, diabetes screening, blood pressure screening, colonoscopy (screening for colon cancer), Pap Smears (screening for cervical cancer), breast examinations and mammography (screenings for breast cancer), pelvic examinations (a way to assess changes to ovaries), and more.
- Diagnostic Tests – Diagnostic tests are another essential part of preventive care and generally occur when a patient has symptoms or when an abnormality is found during a screening or exam. Tests are used to investigate the patient’s symptoms or abnormality and determine the root cause. Some common diagnostic tests include biopsies, CT scans, ECGs, MRIs, ultrasounds, x-rays, and other preventive tests for sexual health like STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing.
Why Is Preventive Care Important?
Now that you know exactly what preventive care is, it’s time to explore exactly why it’s so important. Here’s why preventive care is an essential part of healthcare:
- It Helps Your Body – As mentioned above, preventive care focuses on protecting your body from contracting illnesses or diseases, screening to ensure you haven’t developed any conditions, and catching diseases early on if you do develop them. This provides you with the opportunity to keep your body healthy and quickly know when something is not right.
- It Helps Your Medical Provider – Another reason preventive care is so important is that it helps your provider. When you engage in preventive care, you see your provider regularly which helps her or him understand the intricacies of your body and overall health. Because of this, your provider will also be able to tell when something is abnormal or out of place and determine whether testing is necessary to investigate.
- It Reduces Healthcare Costs – Finally, preventive care is beneficial because it helps you reduce your healthcare costs. While it may seem like you’re spending more because you are seeing your medical provider more often, it is much more cost-effective to visit your provider regularly to ensure you are healthy instead of just hoping you are healthy. If you don’t visit your provider for preventive care, you could develop symptoms or disease without knowing and be much farther along when you finally catch it. This can lead to expensive hospital stays, treatment, and sometimes surgery.
Whether you consider yourself relatively healthy or not, visiting your medical provider for preventive care is incredibly important. It can help you live a long, healthy life and prevent you from developing expensive medical conditions. The best thing to do is contact your provider and determine what they think is best for you.
MyAlly Health offers confidential reproductive health services to women and men in the Grand Forks, North Dakota area, regardless of income or age. This includes preventive care, like getting tested for STIs, receiving a vaccination, or annual examinations, including Pap Smears, breast examinations, and pelvic examinations. The clinical services we provide are performed by Nurse Practitioners and Resident Physicians. In order to empower and engage individuals in their well-being and reproductive health, MyAlly Health offers education, counseling, advocacy, and healthcare services. Find out more about what we do, help make a difference by donating to our cause, or schedule an appointment with us today!