What is preventive care and how can it keep me healthy?

Screenings at regular wellness visits help find issues when they’re most treatable

doctor examining a young man with a blood pressure gauge

We’ve all heard the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

That expression may very well be true, especially when it comes to preventive care. We sat down with the experts at Sanford Health to find out why.

What is preventive care?

Kim Belzberg, M.D., is an internal medicine specialist and geriatrician at Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota. 

She said preventive care helps to catch diseases before they progress. 

“Awareness of disease at the early stages can help empower patients to take control of their health when it is less overwhelming,” she said. 

“A good example is diabetes, which, when caught at an early stage, can be reversed through lifestyle changes or controlled with medications,” added Dr. Belzberg. 

She said there are many types of preventive care available at Sanford Health, including:

  • Immunizations
  • Wellness visits also known as an annual physical for both children and adults
  • Mammograms
  • Heart, vascular, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings
  • Cervical, colorectal, lung and prostate cancer screenings
  • Behavioral health screenings
  • Preparticipation physical also known as a sports physical. This can be covered through a well child visit.
  • Nutrition and exercise programs
  • Health education

When to make an appointment

Dr. Belzberg said with so many preventive care options available, it’s easy for patients to feel overwhelmed. She said she encourages patients to start slow.

“Often at the first visit the patient is worried about both meeting a new provider and telling the story of their medical care to date. So, I start with what care is most important to them. I typically have them return in one to three months for follow-up, and to go over other concerns. 

“At that time, I broach other screening options that are important, but were not a priority to them at the initial visit,” she explained. 

Take the quiz: Match with a Sanford Health doctor

Preventive care is important for everyone, no matter the age.

“Preventive care is important to help prevent disease, catch at an early stage, or stop progression. This can help patients age with more strength and vigor.”

Learn more

Posted In Family Medicine, Healthy Living, Internal Medicine, Women's