Prevention Actually is Worth a Pound of Cure

Jennifer Krueger, PA-C
Bitterroot Physicians Clinic
A Service of Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital
1200 Westwood Drive
Hamilton, MT 59840
(406) 363-1100


Prevention Actually is Worth a Pound of Cure
Springtime is always a season of renewal, taking stock, spring cleaning. It's a perfect time to review how you're doing with regard to health, exercise, and diet, all key components of optimizing our general health and preventing medical problems.

The annual exam is critical at every age. Regular check-ups are recommended by major medical societies, such as the American College of Physicians and the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. At every stage of our lives, preventing disease and promoting healthy lifestyles has been shown to make a difference:

Children/Adolescence:
Prevention doesn't just mean immunizations, it also means setting the stage for the rest of their lives for focusing on healthy eating and exercise.

Today, almost one in every three children in our nation is overweight or obese which predisposes them to chronic disease and the numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities.

With better health, children are in school more days and are better able to learn. Numerous studies have found that regular physical activity supports better learning. Student fitness levels have been correlated with academic achievement, including improved math, reading and writing scores.

Adults:
As we move from childhood/adolescence into adulthood, lives quickly become busier and more complicated, starting careers and families.

Seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases (such as cancer and heart disease), and almost one out of every two adults has at least one chronic illness, many of which are preventable. Preventing disease increases productivity productivity - asthma, high blood pressure, smoking and obesity each reduce annual productivity by between $200 and $440 per person.

Seniors:
With the baby boomer generation living longer, there is an increasing focus on "aging in place". With better health, seniors keep their independence. Support for older adults who choose to remain in their homes and communities and retain their independence helps promote and maintain positive mental and emotional health. Exercise is important for both physical and mental health; 'brain game' sections have sprung up in every major store and bookstore across the U.S.

Develop your roadmap for health:
Focusing on preventing disease and illness before they occur will create healthier homes, workplaces, schools and communities so that people can live long and productive lives and reduce their healthcare costs.

Investments in prevention across the life span complement and support treatment and care. Prevention policies and programs can be cost-effective, reduce health care costs, and improve productivity.

In addition to cancer and other screenings, such as diabetes and heart disease, the exam is beneficial to answer patient questions about health and lifestyle and to develop a plan to go in the right direction.

Family history is an important component to ensure focus on prevention. It also documents any normal variants on the physical exam to refer to in future visits. Addressing misconceptions about health and discussing lifestyle behaviors that may lead to disease in the future is also very important.

People are developing "roadmaps" to monitor their health and fitness, just as we plan financially for the future, it's important to monitor health and fitness.

It's never too late to start so plan a visit to your clinician today; if you don't have a regular provider, contact Marcus Daly and get started!

Questions and or comments regarding this week's health column please contact, Jennifer Krueger, PA-C at Bitterroot Physicians Clinic, a service of Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, 1200 Westwood Drive, Hamilton, MT 59840. Working together to build a healthier community!
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