The power of preventive care

The power of preventive care

Did you know getting routine preventive care can help you stay well, catch problems early and help you live a longer, healthier life? Most health plans cover preventive services, like shots and screening tests, meaning they are offered at no cost to the patient.

Let’s dive into what preventive care is and how it can help you on your health journey.

Annual exams and preventive care

What is an annual exam? An annual exam serves as a wellness check for you to touch base with your provider, address any health issues and talk about preventive measures for your future. This time is for your health.

What to expect Your healthcare provider should take time to listen and provide feedback regarding your health concerns and risk factors. Items covered may include:

  • Health history updates – Your lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, alcohol use, sexual health, nutrition, and exercise.
  • Lab tests – Standard lab tests during an annual physical may include a lipid panel (total/HDL/LDL cholesterol & triglycerides), fasting glucose or A1c, and more.
  • Vital signs – Your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and temperature.
  • General appearance – Your provider may gather information by watching and talking to you. How is your memory and mental quickness? Does your skin appear healthy? Can you easily stand and walk?
  • Mental health screenings – The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends regular anxiety and depression screening for adults under age 65.
  • Full body physical exam – This may include heart, lung, abdominal, skin, neurological or extremities exams.
  • Male or female exam – A man’s annual exam might include a testicular, penis, prostate, or hernia exam. A woman’s annual exam might include a breast or pelvic exam.
  • Prevention screens – Regular screening tests may find breast, cervical, and colorectal (colon) cancers early, when treatment is likely to work best.
  • Vaccination updates – Routine vaccines (such as measles) and seasonal vaccines (such as the flu) help your body to fight off future infections.

Benefits of regular annual exams

Having regular annual exams with your provider helps keep you updated on preventive screenings and vaccinations. This can help address risks for future medical problems and catch health concerns sooner, which is typically easier and less expensive to treat.

Making healthy lifestyle choices is a part of preventive care

Many chronic diseases are a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices including tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use. By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can reduce your chances of getting a chronic disease and improve your quality of life.

  • Maintain a healthy weight – A healthy diet and regular physical activity can help prevent weight gain, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some kinds of cancer.
  • Regular physical activity – A brisk 30-minute daily walk can promote weight loss, improve blood pressure and triglycerides levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Choose whole foods – Fresh fruits and vegetables (with skin), whole grain breads and cereals (such as oats or barley), and legumes and beans (such as chickpeas or lentils) are high in fiber, provide essential vitamins and nutrients, and help to support a healthy weight.
  • Avoid tobacco – Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States.
  • Limit alcohol use – The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting intake to 2 drinks or less for men and 1 drink or less for women on days when alcohol is consumed.
  • Get routine check-ups – 1 in 3 deaths each year in the U.S. is from heart disease, stroke, or other cardiovascular diseases. Getting good medical care that finds problems early and treats them effectively is an essential part of staying alive and healthy.

How to prepare for your annual exam

  • Write down questions – Write questions ahead of time to make sure all potential concerns are addressed.
  • Make your other appointments first – Bring related tests, blood work, or screenings that were completed prior to annual exam to review with your provider.
  • Track your medical history – Let your provider know if you’ve received new diagnoses, gotten a vaccine, had surgery, or have any other recent health information to share.
  • Know your medications – Bring a list or snap photos of your medications, supplements and vitamin labels.
  • Bring any additional health data – If you keep a food log, use a symptom tracker, chart your blood pressure, or keep track of anything else related to your health, bring that information to share with your provider.

Ready for your annual exam?

Contact your Everside health provider or email to schedule your annual exam today!