Preventive Health Screenings to Prevent Chronic Conditions

Author: Michele, Registered Nurse Preventive Health Screenings

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, account for 7 out of 10 deaths in America. In many cases, these conditions are preventable. Preventive screenings can help you identify risk factors and prevent chronic conditions. Here’s what you need to know about scheduling preventive health screenings this year to prevent chronic conditions.

Preparing for Preventive Health Visits

It’s important for your doctor to get a complete picture of your overall wellness at your preventive health visits. Tell your doctor about all the medications you’re taking, including supplements. Be honest about your exercise habits, alcohol use and other lifestyle habits. Before you visit the doctor, research your family health history. During your visit your doctor may evaluate your overall health and may recommend healthy lifestyle changes. Come prepared with a list of questions for your doctor. Be sure to write them down because it’s easy to forget what you want to say.

Testing Your Cholesterol Levels

If you have not checked your cholesterol recently or if you have a family history of high cholesterol, schedule a checkup this year. Typically, high cholesterol doesn’t have any symptoms. The best way to know your cholesterol level is to talk to your doctor about a simple blood test. If your cholesterol levels are too high, you have a greater risk of developing heart disease. The Mayo Clinic offers more information about high cholesterol and the other causes of heart disease.

Identifying Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Many common health factors increase your risk of developing type two diabetes. If you have high blood pressure, if you are overweight or if someone in your family has type two diabetes, you should get your blood glucose levels tested regularly to identify risk of developing diabetes or prediabetes. Prediabetes is a red flag that your blood sugar is too high, but not quite to the level of diabetes. If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, your doctor will help you establish healthy behaviors to prevent the disease from progressing.

Colon Cancer Prevention

If you are over the age of 45 and have not had a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer, schedule a visit with your healthcare provider. In most cases, colon cancer develops from small, noncancerous cells. If you catch these cells early, you can prevent them from progressing into cancer.

Screening for Hepatitis C

Many people are living with hepatitis C without realizing it. Ask your doctor about a screening for hepatitis C, especially if you’re an adult born before 1965. Hepatitis C affects millions of Americans and is curable with proper medication and treatment.

Dental Exams and General Wellness

Don’t skip out on your oral health this year. Schedule a dental checkup every six months. There’s a connection between your oral health and your overall wellness. Your oral health can affect your general physical health and vice versa. Without good hygiene, bacteria in your mouth can contribute to other serious medical conditions that could affect other parts of your body. If you have diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis or other health conditions, these conditions could impact your oral health.

Preventive Screenings for Women’s Health

Women over 40 should get regular screenings for breast and cervical cancers. Women over 60 years old should get a bone density screening to identify osteoporosis risk. Depending on your risk factors, your doctor will help you decide how often these tests are necessary.

Preventive Screenings for Men’s Health

The American Cancer Society recommends that men who have an average risk of prostate cancer begin screening for prostate cancer at the age of 50. However, they also advise men to talk with their doctor to make an informed decision before scheduling the test.

Preventive Health Visits Provide Opportunity for Education

Preventive health visits help you stay informed about what’s best for your body. These visits allow you to identify areas where you might have an increased risk of developing a chronic condition and learn more about your overall health. Education is an important part of preventive health visits. If you know the warning signs and make healthy choices, you can prevent or reverse some symptoms. You should also stay up to date with immunizations, such as your flu shot. Your healthcare provider and Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions (HPS) pharmacist can help you learn more about lifestyle choices and medications that can help prevent certain chronic conditions.

Evaluate Your Medications

Talk to your HPS pharmacist about all the medications you’re taking, including supplements and over-the-counter medicine. The HPS clinical experts can help you understand potential side effects and make sure there are no drug interactions between your medications. HPS offers a whole-health approach to helping you manage complex, chronic conditions. Our team can also provide personalized nutrition advice from a licensed-registered dietitian and other support services. This year, let HPS help make your life easier, healthier and happier.