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

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

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

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?

Preventive care prevents disease, injury, or illness, rather than treating a condition after it has happened or worsened. The goal of preventive care is to help people stay healthy.

Start preventive care: Find a Sanford Health provider

Oftentimes, providers can detect diseases early through preventive care.

Sanford Health offers a plethora of types of preventive care, including:

  • Wellness visits, also known as an annual physical for both children and adults
  • Heart, vascular, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings
  • Cervical, colorectal, lung and prostate 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

Ultimately, preventive care may lead to a longer life for patients because it helps detect medical issues and can prevent them from becoming more serious.

Well child visits

A regular check-up for a child under the age of 18 is often referred to as a “well child visit.”

These visits help ensure that infants, children and teens are getting the proper care they need to stay healthy. They give the provider, parents and child an opportunity to talk about nutrition, safety, immunizations and many important age-appropriate topics including behavioral health screening.

Learn what to expect from well child visits at each age.

Adult wellness visits

Through preventive care visits, providers can offer patients a wide variety of screenings, immunizations and patient counseling through adulthood.

For instance, Sanford recommends a yearly mammogram for all women starting at age 40 because it can help detect changes in the breast that may be too small to see or feel.

Sanford also provides patients with routine immunizations that not only protect individuals who receive the vaccine but also inhibits the spread of disease.

When to make an appointment

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

She 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,” Dr. Belzberg said.

“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.”

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

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

How to make an appointment

You can schedule preventive care by:

Learn more

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