Healthcare systems are changing their focus from solely treating sickness and disease to a system that is focused on wellness and prevention. Focusing on prevention in our communities will help improve everyone’s overall health, quality of life, and prosperity. Doing so creates healthier homes, workplaces, schools and communities so that people can live long, productive and independent lives — and reduce healthcare costs.
Here are some guidelines for good preventive healthcare practices:
- Screening tests and vaccinations. An important part of preventive care. Get regular checkups, preventive examinations, and immunizations. Do not forget self-examinations, too. Find out which tests and immunizations are recommended by age group and gender, using these guidelines, and discuss a disease prevention plan with your doctor.
- Be informed. Learn about health promotion and disease prevention and ask your physician for specific information regarding your needs.
- Avoid illegal drugs and alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines a drink as one 5-ounce glass of wine, one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Remember that the alcohol content of each type of drink can vary widely. Where illicit drugs are concerned, there is no such thing as “moderate” use.
- Take medicine wisely. Read the labels, follow the instructions carefully, and remind your doctor or pharmacist about any other medicines or supplements you might be taking that could interact with your medication. If you have any questions about possible side effects, call your doctor or pharmacist.
- Play it safe. Avoid injuries. Buckle up. Wear a bike helmet. Use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Wear sunscreen and UV protected sunglasses. Use street smarts and common sense. Practice safe sex.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in our country.
- Eat smart. It is the secret to good health. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Enjoy a variety of foods, balance foods from each food group, and exercise moderation.
- Get moving. The other secret to good health: just 30-60 minutes of physical activity, accumulated over the course of each day, can radically improve the way you look and feel, both physically and mentally.
- Be happy. Take time for yourself. Get connected with family, friends, and community. Do things you enjoy!