Preventive health care is often thought of as the process of undergoing medical screenings for common illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer. However, it encompasses many aspects of personal health. For example, if you want to reduce your chances of developing chronic illnesses, you must learn to interpret signals from your body.
Noticing unusual changes in how you feel can help you get the preventive care and diagnostic testing you need quickly. Issues like changes to your feces or the condition of your skin can be signs of a medical problem you need to address.
Seeking preventive health care options is an involved process. To successfully protect your health, you must find ways to detect illnesses early. You must also limit your exposure to the materials that can cause such illnesses and make changes to your daily routine to protect your body. Many preventive health care resources are available to help you meet your goal of illness prevention. Understanding those resources will allow you to take full advantage of all aspects of preventive care.
Preventive Health Care Statistics
Statistics regarding preventive health care in the United States reveal that although many Americans are aware that many illnesses can be prevented, not enough individuals utilize preventive health care measures. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 62 percent of Americans have had cancer or have loved ones who have been diagnosed with cancer. Also, approximately 90 percent of Americans are familiar with cases of cancer having occurred in their family lines. However, the percentage of these same Americans who get cancer screenings is significantly smaller.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preventive services offered by medical professionals are often avoided because of the misconception that they are too expensive. In fact, Americans utilize medical preventive health care services approximately 50 percent less than professionals recommend. However, financial concerns are often unfounded because there are many free preventive health care resources available.
Home Preventive Health Care Measures
Among the preventive health care resources available are the numerous home preventive measures that you can implement in your daily life. Personal behaviors can have a large impact on current health, as well as the chances of future chronic illnesses developing. Some aspects of home preventive care involve eliminating substances from your home. Such substances include:
- Unhealthy foods.
Other aspects of home preventive health care will require you to examine and adapt your daily routines. For example, if you tend to eat unhealthy meals, eating more nutrient-rich foods can help you stay strong and healthy. Making such lifestyle changes can protect you on a daily basis, as well as strengthen and protect your body to stave off future illnesses.
Preventive Health Care Provided Through Insurance Companies
Medical procedures used for preventive health care are also important. Health Insurance Marketplace plans are required to provide certain preventive services. Some other health insurance plans also offer such services. However, the exact procedures offered may differ if you have an insurance company not part of the Health Insurance Marketplace. To take advantage of them, you must begin by scrutinizing your medical insurance plan. Doing so will allow you to:
- Understand the free procedures available.
- Determine which procedures you may need.
- Locate a medical facility that accepts your insurance to ensure your preventive services will be covered.
Preventive health care services covered by your insurance company will typically be divided into categories based on age groups and genders. You may qualify for services in multiple categories. For example, if you are an adult female, you may qualify for adult preventive care services and women’s health services.
Community Health Centers and Free Clinics
Community care programs and clinics are essential preventive health care resources. Community health centers typically provide free preventive care or low-cost services you may otherwise be unable to afford. Many community health centers are partially supported by the Health Resources & Services Administration. The administration is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. According to 2017 HRSA statistics:
- Over 1,400 American health centers exist.
- Approximately 10 percent of all children and 33 percent of all impoverished Americans use those clinical services annually.
- Over 25 million patients are seen in those clinics and their satellite locations annually.
Free clinics may also be available in your community. When you visit a free clinic, you can receive multiple preventive health care screenings and services without paying a fee. Free clinics, often known as charitable clinics, are typically funded by donations and community support. However, they offer similar services to those offered in other health clinics. According to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, American free clinics were visited six million times in 2016.
Other Community Care Programs
Many preventive health care resources available to you will be unique programs provided locally. Community care programs are often hosted by schools, workplaces and healthcare facilities. Educational preventive health programs offered at the local level can help you learn about additional forms of preventive health care, such as injury prevention.
Preventive care programs offered in your local community may also be used to institute widespread change among community members in regard to health care practices. Such programs often provide the newest information regarding current preventive healthcare screening processes in an effort to keep community members informed and healthy. Therefore, attending community preventive health care meetings and events may help you receive the latest preventive care as quickly as possible.
Other Preventive Care Tips
Resources for preventive health care are so diverse not all preventive care options and tips fit in the categories above. For example, working and living in safe environments is essential for disease prevention. Other forms of preventive care include:
- Personal hygienic habits.
- Air quality control.
- Allergen avoidance.
Keeping informed about such topics will allow you to recognize potential health hazards in all aspects of your life. By doing so, you will be able to control certain aspects of your environment, including chemical exposure. As you increase your healthy habits and decrease exposure to risk factors, you will increase your odds of maintaining your good health.