Preventative care is the strongest defense against chronic disease and preventable illnesses that are affecting Americans nationwide. Unfortunately, the average American spends twice as much on healthcare than an average from 29 other developed countries. This large cost can be attributed to the high number of chronic conditions that are afflicting Americans across the country.
By emphasizing preventative care as a part of your overall healthcare, you can reduce the likelihood of developing chronic conditions and illnesses. There are steps that can be taken at home in addition to preventative medicine offered by doctors. Learn more about preventative medicine and how it can help to improve your long-term health.
What is Considered Preventative Care?
Any step you take to detect or prevent diseases or other medical conditions before they develop into major issues can be considered preventative healthcare. This can include routine checkups and screenings and other services provided by medical experts or steps you can take at home to promote your overall good health and wellbeing.
Although many diseases are genetic, a strong preventative health routine also help your body offset some of the chronic conditions and illnesses that can come with poor overall health. For example, there are several methods of preventative care that can reduce your chances of developing heart disease, even if your family has a history of heart conditions.
Common Chronic Conditions and Illnesses
Americans are facing an increase in certain chronic conditions and illnesses, which is causing the United States to spend significantly more on health care than any other nation. These chronic conditions have quickly become the leading causes of death in disability in the country. Many of these health issues can potentially be mitigated by practicing preventative care. The most common ailments that Americans have been facing in recent years include:
- Heart disease and stroke – The first and third leading causes of death and among the leading causes of disability in Americans.
- Cancer – Cancer remains the nation’s second leading cause of death despite medical advancements in detection, prevention, and treatment. Preventative healthcare can help detect cancer early or potentially prevent it from even developing at all.
- Diabetes – Although there have been major medical advancements made in managing diabetes and its complications, the amount of people living with diabetes increases every day.
- Arthritis – The most common cause of disabilities in the nation, affecting about 20 percent of all American adults. This condition creates impediments to engaging in physical behavior.
- Obesity – Obesity is tied to many other medical issues such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers, and more. The obesity rates among children and adults are higher in the United States than many other nations.
- Respiratory diseases – Diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema that affect the lungs. These can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Oral Conditions – Diseases of the mouth and throat including tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. These medical issues cause major pain and can be costly to treat.
Fortunately, Americans who routinely practice preventative care at home and with medical professionals can reduce their risk for many of these chronic conditions and illnesses. Keep reading to learn some preventative health guidelines to improve your health.
Preventative Healthcare You Can Practice Yourself
The best way to protect your health and save money on healthcare costs is to practice preventative care on a regular basis. There are many steps you can take at home to bolster your health and strengthen your body to prevent chronic conditions and illnesses from developing. Here are some ways you can take preventative care into your own hands.
Increase your physical activity
Regular physical activity is an essential method of preventative care that can help keep you healthy and strong. By increasing your daily exercise, you will increase your chance of living longer in numerous ways. Not only will it help you control your weight, but it will also help you strengthen your bones and muscles. Studies have also shown that regular physical activity will improve your mental health and mood. You will feel the benefits as it also improves your ability to perform daily activities.
For older adults, regular physical activity can prevent falls. Additionally, exercising regularly will also reduce your risks for developing health issues like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Unfortunately, over one-third of all American adults are not meeting the recommendations for physical activity required to practice good preventative care.
Improve your nutrition
Poor nutrition is a leading cause of chronic illnesses and health conditions such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Another important tool for preventative healthcare is to improve your diet and nutrition. Increasing the number of fruits and vegetables you eat have many benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Fruits and vegetables can also help you manage weight because they are high in nutrients and low in calories.
Reducing your sugar intake and the amount of saturated fat you consume are also easy ways to improve your overall nutritional health. A combination of regular exercise and good nutrition can help you manage your weight and are two of the most effective methods of preventative care.
Quit tobacco use
The Surgeon General’s report on tobacco use has found conclusive evidence that consuming tobacco is the single leading cause of avoidable disease, disability, and death in the country. Based on these findings, tobacco users can take immediate action to improve their preventative health by quitting.
Quitting tobacco use can be extremely difficult. Nearly 70 percent of smokers in the United States want to quit and 40 percent attempt to quit each year. People who are struggling with an addiction to tobacco should speak with a medical professional for advice on how to successfully end their habit.
Preventative Medicine and Medical Services
There are a number of different preventative medical services provided by your doctor that can protect your health in the long run. These services include screenings for various categories that can help detect diseases and abnormalities before they develop into major health issues. Some common preventative health screenings offered by doctors include:
- Hepatitis B screening
- Hepatitis C screening
- Diabetes (Type 2) Screening
- Colorectal cancer screening
- Blood pressure screening
Another form of preventative healthcare you can get from your doctor is immunization vaccines. These vaccines will provide you with an immunity for various diseases including, varicella (chickenpox), tetanus, measles, and more. Speak with your doctor or medical professional to find out which vaccinations you may be required to get.