Preventative Care Essential for Good Health

When it comes to healthcare, disease prevention doesn’t usually attract a lot of headlines. But it should. Whether it’s getting the proper screenings or having vaccinations at the right time, preventative care can have a huge impact on your overall health. Over the long run, preventative health measures will not only help you feel better, you’ll also likely avoid more costly health problems down the road.

But many people, however, aren’t aware of the tests they need, or think they don’t need them.

As a healthcare provider, I take it very seriously to educate patients about the different tests they need and why they’re important. Fortunately, I’m not the only healthcare provider who takes prevention seriously.

Just last month, Consumer Reports – the same magazine that ranks everything from washing machines to cars – looked at the 19 healthcare providers who are a part of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality and named ThedaCare Physicians the best at offering cancer screening tests to patients, providing care for people over the age of 60, and treating patients with heart disease. ThedaCare’s electronic medical record system, which connects all of our medical providers, helps us keep track of patients and the different screenings or vaccinations they may need. It’s exciting to be part of a health organization that has so many tools in place to help keep patients healthy.

By providing screenings for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer, doctors are able to catch these diseases earlier, offering the necessary treatments. By identifying cancer earlier through screenings such as mammograms, doctors can help prevent it from spreading.

Vaccinations are another way to prevent diseases and improve overall health. And they aren’t just for children. There’s always a lot of attention paid to influenza vaccinations in the fall and early winter,  but other vaccinations are just as important. One example is the adult pneumococcal vaccine, which is recommended for those over the age of 65. This vaccine helps prevents pneumonia, which can be dangerous and even fatal.

While we as healthcare providers strive to keep you healthy and up-to-date, it’s essential patients realize the importance of screenings and preventative care. When your doctor recommends that you get a colonoscopy, don’t come up with a bunch of excuses. Instead, make the appointment and have the screening test done. If the doctor says you’re due for a vaccination, get it – don’t delay. By staying current on screenings and vaccinations, you are doing a lot to improve your long-term health.

Scott Schuldes is a certified family nurse practitioner and associate medical director at ThedaCare Physicians-Hilbert. He can be reached at scott.schuldes@thedacare.org.