Make Preventive Care a Priority

The goal of preventive medicine is to eliminate or minimize disease. We use different tools to screen patients for disease and to watch for signs and symptoms so we can address any issues early on. It’s much easier to take care of a health problem when it's small rather than when it's larger, so the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is still true, particularly when it comes to preventive medicine.

As a family nurse practitioner in primary care for the last 20 years, it’s my job to keep patients healthy, which means they are able to be more productive, spend time with family and friends, be happy and do all of the things they want to do. We use preventive medicine to help them be the healthiest versions of themselves.

Annual Physical Measures Overall Health

At Westfield Premier Physicians, we tap into several preventative tools to keep our patients healthy. One of the biggest mainstays is an annual physical. All of our patients receive an annual physical, which involves blood work usually taken ahead of time. We look at things like cholesterol, blood sugar, kidney and liver function, and blood count. Then, when the patient comes in for the appointment, we’ll go over all of those lab test results. We’ll also check their urine for health concerns, take weight and height measurements, and check blood pressure. We use all of those parameters to gauge overall health.

Get Recommended Health Tests

Health screenings, along with the physical, are the top two aspects of preventive medicine. Most tests and screenings are based on age and sex, but can also be based on what’s relevant or important for that particular patient. At each physical, we’ll recommend the appropriate health screenings for you.

For example, women who are 40 and over should get a yearly mammogram. Males in their late 40s and older should undergo a prostate exam and also bloodwork for the prostate called the PSA test.

Don’t Just See the Doctor When Sick

Most people go to the doctor only when they’re sick, have a fever or for pain. Preventive medicine is about going when you’re healthy. Most people don’t think about going to the doctor when they’re feeling good, but that’s exactly when they should go.

My son is the perfect example. He’s 32 and he competes in triathlons. He’s healthy, other than banging up an ankle or some other sports injury, but he doesn’t ever think to go to the doctor. If you want a long and healthy life, make sure you’re doing the right things now. Or, if there’s a health issue we should be paying attention to, let’s find out and take care of it now so it doesn’t get to be a big problem later.

Getting an annual physical, following up on blood work and getting age-appropriate screenings is extremely important to your overall health — now and later down the road. People who are younger with no health concerns may not need to go as frequently, but I still think it’s important. We all want to be healthy, and I think the best way to do that is by getting preventive care.

If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please email me at npcerickson@westfieldpremier.com. I’d be more than happy to answer your questions and give you an idea of what may be appropriate for you. I love preventive care and want to help you live a healthy life.

Subscribe To Our Blog

Let Us Know What You Thought about this Post.

Put your Comment Below.