Preventive Health Care

Becoming very ill is something most would prefer to avoid, but few take the necessary steps to remain in good health. While not all chronic illnesses are avoidable, many can be prevented or treated properly if caught early enough.

Preventive health care, also referred to as preventative health care, seeks to prevent or delay the onset of illnesses and catch illnesses while they are still treatable. Though most preventive care measures are taken through services provided by medical professionals, there are also measures that can be taken at home to improve health and prevent disease. Read on to learn more about preventive health care and its benefits.

Understanding Preventive Health Care

For most, maintaining good health and wellness throughout life requires an understanding of preventive health care, what it entails and how to receive these services. Most Americans do not receive the adequate preventive health care services they need that may end up saving them in medical expenses in the long run. Emergency medical services and medical care for existing conditions cost much more than seeking preventive care, and waiting until a disease is developed can cause significant permanent harm to an individual’s health.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was passed in 2010, most health insurance policies are required to provide preventive health care coverage to those they insure free of charge. The ACA makes preventive health care affordable and accessible for individuals and households that were otherwise unable to access this kind of medical care.

There are many different kinds of preventive health care services available, including health screenings, tests, yearly checkups and immunizations. Not all services are available or recommended for every patient, as some are gender or age specific and only pertain to certain patients. Some patients may be eligible for health intervention counseling as part of their preventive health care plan. For example, tobacco users may join a smoking and tobacco use cessation group or see a counselor who will help create a plan that works for the individual patient.

Mental health services are also an integral part of preventive health care, and it is especially important for certain patient groups. The ACA also makes considerations for those who need mental health care the most, such as children, adolescents and women who are pregnant or have just given birth. These groups are particularly susceptible to mental health issues, and as such, have the benefit of free mental health screening through their health insurance provider.

Common Preventive Care Measures

There are many clinical preventive health care measures available, but only the most common preventive care measures are available to all patients. All preventive care measures are meant to lower or eliminate the chances of an individual developing a chronic or life-threatening disease. Though they may sound like large procedures, preventive care usually involves simple, routine checks, examinations and vaccinations.

One of the largest health risks in the United States is Diabetes. Diabetes has become more widespread, affecting people of more ages than in prior decades. It also tends to be the first in a line of health issues, as it can lead to the onset of other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. Type 2 diabetes screenings are available for all adults. While everyone should be screened for diabetes regularly, it is especially important for those who are at a higher risk of developing the disease, such as those with a family history of diabetes or those who are overweight or obese.

Tobacco use is also a prevalent health issue, as many Americans use tobacco in one of its many forms. The use of the substance over time can cause major illnesses, such as cancer and emphysema. Preventive care coverage includes tobacco intervention and cessation programs that a tobacco user of any age may join to quit smoking or using tobacco products. Extended programs are offered to women who are pregnant in order to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Preventive Immunizations

Immunizations are a vital part of an individual’s preventive health care plan. The process of immunizations is that by which a person is made immune to an infection or disease, usually done with a vaccine. Vaccines consist of a low dose of antigens, or dead germs that would normally cause a disease. These antigens are then used by the body’s immune system to learn how to fight off an infection should it ever come in contact with the microbe.

There are two different kinds of vaccines: preventive and therapeutic. However, only preventive vaccines can stop diseases and infections from occurring. Therapeutic vaccines help to treat patients who have already contracted an infection or illness.

Vaccination is important to the health of an individual, regardless of his or her age. However, there are certain vaccines that are more important for those in specific age ranges. While many believe that all vaccinations are administered to children only, there are some vaccines that are available to people of all ages. The flu vaccine, for example, is recommended for all on a yearly basis, but it is especially important for children, pregnant women, the elderly and those who have compromised immune systems.

Preventive Health Care Resources

Finding the right preventive health care sometime requires having the right resources, as searching for the proper care can take some time. While preventive health care services are free through most health insurance plans, those who do not have insurance or preventive care coverage may feel like affordable preventive health care is not available to them. This, however, is not true, as there are many free preventive care services offered by nonprofit organizations.

Preventive care is not limited to what a doctor or medical professional can provide in a clinic. There are certain steps that can be taken at home to improve your general health. Making sure you are getting enough sleep every night is an important step towards good health. Consistently sleeping less than the recommended amount of hours can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health. Maintaining healthy eating habits and exercising regularly also help to keep your body in good health. Diet and exercise can help in preventing chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression.

It is important to note that these steps do not replace the professional care of a doctor and should only be done as a supplementary measure to clinical care under the supervision of a medical professional.

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