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An Ounce of Prevention – the Best Medicine

Everyone wants to live a longer and healthier life, and the answer may be as simple as taking care of yourself with preventative health care.

A Look at the Numbers:

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports 7 out of 10 deaths in the US are caused by chronic disease, while roughly half of the country’s population has been diagnosed with a chronic illness (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, AIDS or other conditions) classified by the medical community as preventable.

  • On average, 42,000 deaths per year are prevented among children who receive recommended childhood vaccines.
  • Blood pressure screening and control is one of the most effective ways to prevent heart disease and stroke. Among people with diabetes, blood pressure control reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 33 to 50%.
  • Water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by 25% in children and adults.

Benefits:

Preventative care has been found to significantly increase life expectancy, particularly among the 30- to 49-year age group. Screenings detect and prevent illnesses and diseases in the early, more treatable stages, and Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance plans cover preventative care.

Recommended screenings:

If you want to stay healthy, live longer, and avoid costly health risks, prevention is key. The top screenings include:

  1. Blood pressure: High blood pressure risks include heart attack, stroke and eye or kidney problems.
  2. Cholesterol: Elevated levels can lead to heart disease, one of the top causes of death in the US.
  3. Mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early.
  4. Colorectal tests help detect colon cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the US.
  5. Pap tests screen for cervical cancer that is easy to treat when caught early.
  6. A bone mineral density scan checks your risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens your bones. 
  7. Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening is by ultrasound. Individuals most at risk are men ages 65 to 75 who have smoked at any point in their life.
  8. Depression is a common cause of disability in adults and often shows up with chronic illness and aging.
  9. Diabetes can cause complications such as blindness and kidney disease.
  10. Immunizations such as flu, pneumonia, and shingles help you stay healthy.
  11. Dental 
  12. Eye exams monitor for glaucoma or other diseases.
  13. Hearing
  14. Skin checks look for cancer or other health concerns. 

Even if you feel fine, see your provider for regular check-ups and recommended screenings. These visits can help you avoid problems in the future. For example, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. High blood sugar and high cholesterol levels also may not have any symptoms in the early stages. A simple blood test can check for these conditions.

The Best Medicine:

  • Have a dedicated health care provider who monitors your health. 
  • Visit your doctor once a year or bi-annually for check-ups. This allows your doctor to monitor your diagnostic readings (heart rate, blood pressure, etc.) and, if necessary, prescribe medication and/or treatment to bring these readings up to healthy levels.
  • Schedule and follow-through on screenings. It could save your life!

If you have questions about Health Insurance, let us guide you through the process and help you understand what’s right for you. Call today 417-725-1131 or request a call back from Insurance Group of the Ozarks.

Leah Callahan

Leah Callahan

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