Why Health Prevention Matters

Bon_Secours_Women's_Health_Oncology_Cardiac_Care_OB/GYN_childbirthJust like you schedule your vehicle for preventative maintenance to keep it in top running condition, the same should be done for the human body. Regular physical exams and health screenings are an important part of preventive health care. Routine checkups and screenings can help you avoid serious health problems, allow you and your doctor to work together as a team to manage your overall health, and assist you in reaching your personal health and wellness goals.

Screening allows for more treatment options and better outcomes, according to Dr. Frank Westmeyer, an internal medicine specialist with Patient Choice Oceana and Ghent Patient Choice.

Blood pressure and diabetes tests are important because both conditions are widespread. In fact, one in three adults has high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Likewise, 26 million people have diabetes, which can result in poor health, disability, and death. Aside from blood pressure and diabetes screenings, Dr. Westmeyer recommends these tests for active adults:

  • Cholesterol Screening
    Heart disease affects millions of Americans. Cholesterol, a waxy substance, clogs arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease. Men typically start cholesterol screening at 35 and women at 45. Testing can begin earlier if a family history of heart disease exists. In fact, family history can affect when all your tests start, so check with your primary care physician. Ongoing cholesterol screenings should be done annually.
  • Colonoscopy
    Colon cancer is a leading cause of death among Americans, and the chances of developing colorectal cancer increase with age. Screenings typically begin at 50. The frequency of screenings and the age of your initial screening depends on your family medical history and earlier screening results.
  • Prostate Cancer Screening
    The prostate is a walnut-sized organ found in men just below the bladder. Many doctors believe that regular testing of the prostate can help aid early detection of prostate cancer and increase likelihood of an effective treatment. Screening for this condition typically begins at age 50 with annual tests.
  • Mammograms
    Mammograms allow for early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Opinion is divided over when the test should begin. Some argue screenings should start at 40, others say 50. Frequency varies with individual situations. However, testing ever two years is often suggested for most women between 50 and 74. Bon Secours offers outpatient scheduling for mammography at (757) 398-2316 or Toll-Free at 1-866-878-9488.

If you are behind on your screenings you should call to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. If you don’t have a family doctor, Bon Secours can help you find a physician who meets your needs and personal preferences. Call (757) 889-CARE(2273) for a referral.

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