It is easier to make healthy lifestyle decisions when you have the information and guidance of your health care provider.
The first step is a thorough physical examination. Your doctor will also ask detailed questions about your medical history, including whether close family members have had certain problems.
Your doctor will recommend preventive care steps and goals depending on your overall health, your gender and your age.
Many of these steps are much the same for everyone. For example, your doctor will schedule the proper vaccinations for you and your children at the appropriate age.
For adults, screenings that consider your family history, age and gender will help your doctor spot problems. Early detection often means a better outcome for you and lower health care costs.
For example, your doctor will want to know if a close female relative has had breast cancer as this may indicate you are at higher risk.
Colon cancer, heart disease and other medical problems in close relatives may alter the timing of screening tests.
Even if you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or other medical problems, there are steps your doctor can recommend that may reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.
You can control the risk factors for many of the leading causes of death. A comprehensive preventive care program can lower your odds of becoming another statistic.
For example, preventable risk factors such as avoiding tobacco use, maintaining your proper weight, regular exercise and other steps can significantly reduce your chances for illness or premature death.
Your doctor can help you with effective healthy lifestyle strategies that will eliminate or reduce these risk factors.
You may not be able to control every medical condition, but following preventive care guidelines may lessen your chances of serious illness or moderate some symptoms.
Fewer trips to the doctor, urgent care or the emergency room to treat problems associated with preventable risk factors add up to a higher quality of life and more money in your pocket.