The American healthcare system only consistently delivers the right preventive care 55 percent of the time. As a result, tens of thousands of Americans die prematurely from avoidable deaths because simple interventions weren't done. Doctors are increasingly busy and may not have enough time to tell you all you need to know to stay well. One study showed that a doctor working full time would need an extra day to counsel patients on what steps they should do to keep healthy. As a result preventive screening tests for cancers like breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer, which are leading causes of death, aren't performed routinely and regularly for those who need it. With more patients paying higher deductibles and co-pays, you must know what you should ask for and then get it done.
For breast cancer screening, this means women at average risk should have a mammogram at age 40. Men at average risk should begin screening for prostate cancer at age 50. Both genders should have colon cancer screening, either a sigmoidoscopy with annual stool testing or a colonoscopy starting at age 50. You may need to check with your doctor if you are at higher risk as you may need to be screened earlier or more frequently. A major misconception is that only individuals with a family history are at risk for cancer. While they are at higher risk, the vast majority of new cancer cases occur in individuals without a family history.
The same preventive screening tests and interventions also apply to other problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Do you know what the ideal blood pressure is? How often should you have it checked? When should you be screened for diabetes? Are you at risk?
Even if you exercise regularly, are at a healthy weight, don't smoke or drink, it doesn't mean you can or should skip these important preventive steps. Identifying and addressing problems early increases your chance of living longer and staying well.
The healthcare system doesn't reliably remind you when you should get these tests done. Your doctor may not have enough time to remind you what to do. Increasingly you are paying more for healthcare. Find out what you need to do to stay well. It's your money. It's your life.
Go to www.davisliumd.com to get the preventive guidelines for adults under the free download section.