According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 900,000 Americans die a premature death, yet about 40% of those deaths could’ve been prevented.
Preventive medicine is a field that focuses on disease prevention and looks at a variety of factors that may impact health, both internal and external.
To help you better understand what preventive medicine entails, we asked our specialists Dr. Gail Zimmerman about the top 10 components of preventive medicine.
1. Regular screenings
High blood pressure and high blood sugar levels can damage your vascular system and nerves for years before you notice any signs. Regular screenings can catch diseases early before complications occur.
2. Family history analysis
Aside from genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease, and Sickle Cell Anemia, there are more common disorders that genes could influence. These include heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. A specialist can look at your family history and develop a personalized prevention plan.
3. Active lifestyle
Falls are the primary cause of death and disability in seniors. However, you can strengthen your muscles and bones and remain active even as you age with the right exercise program. Weight lifting and calisthenics stimulate bone growth and muscle growth.
4. Weight management
Being overweight or obese puts the body in a chronic state of inflammation, raising your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. Weight loss isn’t easy, but even small changes such as quitting candy and soda and walking for 30 minutes every day can make a big difference.
5. Stress management
Stress is one of the most challenging aspects of a healthy lifestyle to manage. Unlike other factors that may cause disease, it’s subjective and hard to measure.
However, many people notice a reduction in their stress levels after seeking counseling, picking up a hobby, practicing meditation, or eating a cleaner diet.
6. Healthy eating habits
Healthy eating goes far beyond calories in, calories out. The food you eat does more than provide energy; it provides the vitamins and minerals necessary for your body to function optimally. A diet high in energy and low in nutrients may make you tired and more prone to disease.
7. Good hygiene
In the past, most life-threatening diseases were linked to hygiene problems and infested water supplies. Proper hygiene prevents the spread of infectious diseases.
Washing your hands with soap for only 20 seconds can help you kill disease-causing bacteria.
8. Avoiding additives
Unfortunately, determining the long-term health effects of food additives is difficult, as many of them don’t cause immediate issues.
Also, some food additives are deemed safe in certain areas of the world and deemed unsafe in others. For example, titanium dioxide is a food coloring banned in the European Union due to its capacity to damage DNA, but it’s still widely used in the United States.
Additives are mostly used in processed foods. Therefore, consider cooking from scratch to avoid potential health dangers posed by these chemicals.
9. Avoiding environmental pollutants
Many people are familiar with the dangers of smoking tobacco, but the air pollution found in most major cities can be equally harmful.
Pesticides, air fresheners, mosquito repellents, perfumes, deodorants, and cleaning agents also contain dangerous pollutants. When possible, read labels and opt for products that don’t warn about hazardous chemicals on the back.
10. Managing interactions and side effects from medications
Certain medicines may be necessary but can cause other issues, especially when used in the long term.
For example, Metformin, a drug commonly used to manage high blood sugar levels, prevents the absorption of vitamin B12. Chronic B12 deficiency can lead to the development of cognitive issues.
A preventive medicine specialist can analyze possible side effects and interactions between medicines and create a prevention plan.
Stay healthier for longer with the help of preventive medicine
With the right approach, many diseases can be prevented or at least stopped in their tracks. If you want to know how preventive medicine can help maintain your health, contact us to schedule an appointment.