January 19, 2018
Preventive Health Care: How to Be As Healthy As Possible
Do you go to the doctor only when you aren’t feeling well?
If so, then you aren’t doing as much as you can to be as healthy as possible.
All adults should visit their doctor on a regular basis, even when they are healthy. Doing this is preventive health care. Going to the doctor even when you feel fine can help you avoid problems in the future. Some reasons for these visits include the following.
- Screen for diseases, such as high blood pressure or diabetes
- Look for future disease risks, such as high cholesterol and obesity
- Discuss alcohol use and safe drinking and tips on how to quit smoking
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle, such as healthy eating and exercise
- Update vaccinations
- Maintain a relationship with your provider in case of illness
- Discuss medicines or supplements that you are taking
An important part of preventive health is learning to recognize changes in your body that may not be normal. This is so you can know when to see your doctor right away. Changes may include:
- A lump anywhere on your body
- Losing weight without trying
- A lasting fever
- A cough that does not go away
- Body aches and pains that do not go away
- Changes or blood in your stools
- Skin changes or sores that do not go away or get worse
- Other changes or symptoms that are new or do not go away
In addition to seeing your doctor for regular checkups, there are things you can do to stay healthy and help lower your risk for diseases. You can also manage a health condition you already have. Some of these include:
- Don't smoke or use tobacco.
- Exercise at least 150 minutes a week (2 hours and 30 minutes).
- Eat healthy foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat or nonfat dairy.
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation (no more than 2 drinks a day for men and no more than 1 drink a day for women).
To help you be as healthy as possible, your doctor can tell you how often to schedule a visit.
If you don't have a doctor and would like help finding one, call Healthcare Coordination to make an appointment.
If you have questions about health, contact the Health Information Center.
The Health Information Center is a library staffed by medical librarians and certified health information specialists. The health information service provides reliable, easy to understand information on any health topic. The service is free of charge and available to the public. The Health Information Center also offers health books, computers, and a quiet space to take a break.
This healthy tip is provided by the Health Information Center at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.