Did you know preventive health measures and screenings can prevent 85% of illness and disease, and are covered at no cost for many plans? Preventive healthcare is especially important given an increase worldwide in chronic diseases and preventable deaths. There are many ways preventive care services can help you get the care you need to stay healthy.
What are preventive care services?
Preventive healthcare involves taking steps for disease prevention, as opposed to disease treatment. Physical and mental health are affected by environmental factors, genetics, disease agents, and lifestyle choices and it’s beneficial to examine these areas, even before there is a problem.
The goal of preventive care is to protect the health and well-being of individuals and the community while preventing disease, disability, and death. It’s important to visit your provider regularly to get preventive care. Preventive visits, sometimes called routine check-ups, are different than an office visit scheduled to discuss a specific medical problem. These exams are typically scheduled annually and you would see your provider when you feel healthy. Preventive visits help your provider find potential health problems before you feel sick.
Most health plans cover a set of preventive services at no cost to you. Check with your medical insurance company for more information regarding what services they cover.
Preventive care services include:
- Physical exams
- Lab tests
It is beneficial to maintain a good relationship with your healthcare provider. During regular visits with a provider, it is recommended that adults and children address disease screening, identify risk factors for disease, discuss tips for a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and stay up to date with immunizations and boosters. It is essential to get all the screenings and vaccines recommended for your age and gender.
Some common disease screenings include:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar, a risk factor for diabetes)
- Hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol)
- Colon Cancer
- HIV and other common types of sexually transmitted disease
- Mammography (to screen for breast cancer)
- Pap Test (to check for cervical cancer)
- Genetic testing can also be performed to screen for mutations that cause genetic disorders or predisposition to certain diseases such as breast or ovarian cancer
Preventive vs. Diagnostic
Preventive care and diagnostic medical care both play an important role in keeping you as healthy as possible. However, sometimes the difference between the two isn’t clear. Many preventive services are covered at no out-of-pocket cost to you. Be sure to talk to your provider about why a test or service is ordered.
Preventive Care – current health status is evaluated when you are not experiencing symptoms. This includes using immunizations, lab tests, screenings and other services intended to prevent illness or detect problems before you notice any symptoms. The right preventive care at the right time can help you stay well and could even save your life.
Diagnostic Care – treatment for specific health conditions, on-going care, lab or other tests necessary to manage or treat a medical issue or health condition. This involves treating or diagnosing a problem you’re having by monitoring existing problems, checking out new symptoms or following up on abnormal test results. Diagnostic services help your doctor understand your symptoms or diagnose your illness.
Examples of diagnostic medical care include:
- Colon cancer screening (colonoscopy) to evaluate rectal bleeding
- Mammogram to follow up on a breast lump
- Using tests to monitor a chronic disease such as diabetes
- Follow-up tests ordered by your provider after you have a preventive screening and a health problem shows up
- Tests ordered by your provider based on follow-up symptoms you’re having, like a stomachache
If you receive the services for diagnostic reasons, you may have a cost. Please keep in mind that during a visit with your provider, you may receive both preventive and diagnostic services.
For further information or to schedule an appointment, please call 715-684-1111.