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.
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
Paige Voltz, FNP, a family medicine provider at Sanford Health in Bismarck, North Dakota, said preventive care may lead to a longer life for patients.
“Preventive care helps detect and prevent disease and medical issues before they can become major medical problems. The goal of preventive care is to help patients live longer, healthier lives,” said Voltz.
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.
Adult wellness visits
Voltz explained that through preventive care visits, providers can offer patients a wide variety of screenings, immunizations and patient counseling through adulthood.
“For example, we recommend a yearly mammogram for all women starting at the age of 40. Mammogram helps us to detect changes in the breast that may be too small to see or feel.
“We also provide patients with routine immunizations which not only protects the individual who receives the vaccine but also helps to keep diseases from spreading,” she said.
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. 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 said.
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. This can help patients age with more strength and vigor.”
How to make an appointment
You can schedule preventive care by:
- Calling your clinic
- Finding a Sanford Health clinic
- Going online to My Sanford Chart and selecting Wellness Visit
- How to find a primary care provider
- When should I find a primary care provider?
- Your guide to doctor visits